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Published June 15, 2006 | Published
Journal Article Open

Surface evolution during crystalline silicon film growth by low-temperature hot-wire chemical vapor deposition on silicon substrates


We investigate the low-temperature growth of crystalline thin silicon films: epitaxial, twinned, and polycrystalline, by hot-wire chemical vapor deposition (HWCVD). Using Raman spectroscopy, spectroscopic ellipsometry, and atomic force microscopy, we find the relationship between surface roughness evolution and (i) the substrate temperature (230–350 °C) and (ii) the hydrogen dilution ratio (H2/SiH4=0–480). The absolute silicon film thickness for fully crystalline films is found to be the most important parameter in determining surface roughness, hydrogen being the second most important. Higher hydrogen dilution increases the surface roughness as expected. However, surface roughness increases with increasing substrate-temperature, in contrast to previous studies of crystalline Si growth. We suggest that the temperature-dependent roughness evolution is due to the role of hydrogen during the HWCVD process, which in this high hydrogen dilution regime allows for epitaxial growth on the rms roughest films through a kinetic growth regime of shadow-dominated etch and desorption and redeposition of growth species.

Additional Information

© 2006 The American Physical Society (Received 2 November 2005; published 23 June 2006) The authors would like to thank Melissa Griggs for the height-height correlation function code and Liz Miura for Raman measurements. We also thank BP Solar and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for their support of this project, and C.E.R. would like to thank Corning Inc. through the NPSC for their financial support.

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