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Molecular dynamics simulations of H-induced plasma processes and cluster-catalyzed epitaxial growth of thin silicon films

Abstract : Three different processes taking place in a plasma reactor; namely, heating and melting of plasma-born hydrogenated silicon clusters by reactions with atomic hydrogen, hydrogen-induced healing of cluster-damaged silicon surfaces, and cluster-catalyzed epitaxial growth of thin silicon films have been investigated by means of molecular dynamics simulations. Two plasma-born hydrogenated silicon clusters representing amorphous and crystalline structures are chosen to be exposed to atomic hydrogen as in a realistic plasma reactor. We investigate quantitatively how the clusters heat up and melt by the subsequent reactions with H-atoms. A silicon surface which was partly damaged by a too violent cluster impact has been treated by hydrogen atoms. We have observed that the ill-defined silicon surface is rearranged to its initial crystalline structure after the exposure with atomic hydrogen if the appropriate H-atom flux is chosen; i.e., due to the surface reaction dynamics with hydrogen atoms, the silicon atoms of the investigated hydrogenated silicon cluster are positioned in an epitaxial surface structure. We have performed an in-depth study of the deposition dynamics of hydrogenated silicon clusters on a crystalline silicon substrate by controlling the parameters governing the cluster surface deposition. We have found that epitaxial growth of thin silicon films can be obtained from cluster deposition if the impact energies are sufficiently high for cluster atoms and surface atoms touching the cluster to undergo a phase transition to the liquid state before being recrystallized in an epitaxial order. Yet more strikingly, by applying a non-normal incidence angle for the impinging clusters, the epitaxial growth efficiency could considerably be enhanced. Those findings are crucially important to improve the high-speed growth of epitaxial silicon thin films at low temperatures using Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD) techniques for industrial applications.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 11:10:54 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, March 27, 2019 - 4:20:04 PM


  • HAL Id : pastel-00985657, version 1



Ha-Linh Thi Le. Molecular dynamics simulations of H-induced plasma processes and cluster-catalyzed epitaxial growth of thin silicon films. Computational Physics [physics.comp-ph]. Ecole Polytechnique X, 2014. English. ⟨pastel-00985657⟩



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