Silicon Surface Deoxidation Using Strontium Oxide Deposited with the Pulsed Laser Deposition Technique
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The epitaxial growth of functional oxides on silicon substrates requires atomically defined surfaces, which are most effectively prepared using Sr-induced deoxidation. The manipulation of metallic Sr is nevertheless very delicate and requires alternative buffer materials. In the present study the applicability of the chemically much more stable SrO in the process of native-oxide removal and silicon-surface stabilization was investigated using the pulsed-laser deposition technique (PLD), while the as-derived surfaces were analyzed in situ using reflection high-energy electron diffraction and ex situ using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, X-ray reflectivity, and atomic force microscopy. After the deposition of the SrO over Si/SiO2, in a vacuum, different annealing conditions, with the temperature ranging up to 850 degrees C, were applied. Because the deposition took place in a vacuum, a multilayer composed of SrO, Sr-silicate, modified Si, and Si as a substrate was initially formed. Dur...ing the subsequent annealing the topmost layer epitaxially orders in the form of islands, while a further increase in the annealing temperature induced rapid desorption and surface deoxidation, leading to a 2 x 1 Sr-reconstructed silicon surface. However, the process is accompanied by distinctive surface roughening, and therefore the experimental conditions must be carefully optimized to minimize the effect. The results of the study revealed, for the first time, an effective pathway for the preparation of a SrO-induced buffer layer on a silicon substrate using PLD, which can be subsequently utilized for the epitaxial growth of functional oxides.
Keywords:buffer layer / interface reactions / strontium silicate / surface reconstruction / functional oxides
Source:ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 2014, 6, 20, 18205-18214
- Slovenian Research Agency [J2-6759]