Thin silicon nitride films were prepared at 350°C by inductively coupled plasma chemical vapor deposition on Si(100) substrates under different NH3/SiH4 or N2/SiH4 gas mixture. The chemical composition and bonding structure of the deposited films were investigated as a function of the process parameters, such as the gas flow ratio NH3/SiH4 or N2/SiH4 and the RF power, using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The gas flow ratio was 1.4, 4.3, 7.2 or 9.5 and the RF power, 50 or 100W. Decomposition results of Si 2p XPS spectra indicated the presence of bulk Si, under-stoichiometric nitride, stoichiometric nitride Si3N4, oxynitride SiNxOy, and stoichiometric oxide SiO2, and the amounts of these compounds were strongly influenced by the two process parameters. These results were consistent with those obtained from N 1s XPS spectra. The chemical composition ratio N/Si in the film increased with increasing the gas flow ratio until the gas flow ratio reached 4.3, reflecting the high reactivity of nitrogen, and stayed almost constant for further increase in gas flow ratio, the excess nitrogen being rejected from the growing film. A considerable and unexpected incorporation of contaminant oxygen and carbon into the depositing film was observed and attributed to their high chemical reactivity.
- Chemical vapor deposition
- Silicon nitride coating
- X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy