The surface morphology evolution of amorphous SiO 2 thin films deposited by ultrahigh vacuum radio-frequency magnetron sputtering was studied by atomic force microscopy. The results show that: (1) the surface roughness of the deposited films reduces with increased substrate temperatures; (2) the surface roughness increases with higher deposition pressures; and (3) there is a roughening transition at the critical thickness of ∼ 90 nm for the substrate temperature of 713 K. The results also show that the surface roughness at the early stages of growth evolves according to a power law. Further growth beyond the critical thickness leads to a sharp increase in roughness. The experimental results are compared with the previous theoretical and experimental studies on surface evolution during sputter deposition, and discussed in terms of the competition between surface diffusion and shadowing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)