Reactive magnetron sputtering of silicon in Ar + CH4: identity and energy of the SiC growth species

M. P. Fitzner, John R Abelson

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Double-modulation mass spectrometry is used to analyze the identity and energy distribution of the particle flux during low-temperature growth of Si1-xCx by reactive magnetron sputtering of a silicon target in 3 mTorr argon and 0 - 0.35 mTorr methane. The ion fluxes, methane consumption, film deposition rate, and film composition are determined as a function of the methane partial pressure at fixed target current. Argon, silicon, carbon and hydrocarbon ions are detected at the substrate position. The argon and hydrocarbon ions have a narrow energy distribution consistent with the plasma potential. The silicon and carbon ions have a broad energy spread, consistent with that of sputtered neutrals which are post-ionized by the plasma. The film composition (C/Si) varies in the same manner as the arrival ratio of (C+/Si+) ions, but does not correlate well with the arrival ratio of (ΣCHx+/Si+) ions or the methane consumption rate. We conclude that the main source of carbon in Si1-xCx films is the sputtering of C atoms from the Si target surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-440
Number of pages6
JournalMaterials Research Society Symposium - Proceedings
StatePublished - 1994
EventProceedings of the 1994 MRS Spring Meeting - San Francisco, CA, USA
Duration: Apr 4 1994Apr 8 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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