We investigated the effect of silicide formation on ion-induced nanopatterning of silicon with various ultrathin metal coatings. Silicon substrates coated with 10 nm Ni, Fe, and Cu were irradiated with 200 eV argon ions at normal incidence. Real time grazing incidence small angle x-ray scattering (GISAXS) and x-ray fluorescence (XRF) were performed during the irradiation process and real time measurements revealed threshold conditions for nanopatterning of silicon at normal incidence irradiation. Three main stages of the nanopatterning process were identified. The real time GISAXS intensity of the correlated peaks in conjunction with XRF revealed that the nanostructures remain for a time period after the removal of the all the metal atoms from the sample depending on the binding energy of the metal silicides formed. Ex-situ XPS confirmed the removal of all metal impurities. In-situ XPS during the irradiation of Ni, Fe, and Cu coated silicon substrates at normal incidence demonstrated phase separation and the formation of different silicide phases that occur upon metal-silicon mixing. Silicide formation leads to nanostructure formation due the preferential erosion of the non-silicide regions and the weakening of the ion induced mass redistribution.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)