Conformal MgO film grown at high rate at low temperature by forward-directed chemical vapor deposition

Tushar K. Talukdar, Sumeng Liu, Zhejun Zhang, Frank Harwath, Gregory S. Girolami, John R. Abelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


MgO thin films are deposited by chemical vapor deposition from the precursor magnesium N,N-dimethylaminodiboranate, Mg(H3BNMe2BH3)2, and water at a substrate temperature of 270-350 °C. Highly conformal coatings with 98% step coverage in trenches of aspect ratio 9 are obtained at a substrate temperature of 270 °C and a growth rate of 7.5 nm/min, most notably through the use of a forward-directed flux, in which some of the precursor molecules travel ballistically down the recessed feature, strike the bottom, and are scattered there to create a virtual source. The deposition conditions can also be adjusted to afford a growth rate up to 200 nm/min with reduced conformality. Most of the films have a dense and column-free microstructure with low surface roughness; the film density, measured by a combination of Rutherford backscattering spectrometry and scanning electron microscopy, is 82%-86% of bulk. Films grown on Si substrates have good adhesion and a low coefficient of friction (∼0.1) in nanoscratch measurements. The refractive index of the films is slightly lower than that of bulk MgO, consistent with the reduced physical densities. Depending on the growth conditions, the C content in the films varies between 0.7 and 6 at. %, and the B content ranges from 1 to 16 at. %. B in the film is present in the B2O3 chemical state; after subtracting the O content in B2O3, the O/Mg ratio = 1.02 in the MgO matrix. A film grown at a temperature of 270 °C and a growth rate of 6 nm/min has a dielectric constant of 9.5 and a breakdown strength of 6 MV/cm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number051504
JournalJournal of Vacuum Science and Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces and Films
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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