We report on scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and low-energy electron diffraction (LEED) investigations of the interaction of low-energy nitrogen ions with a Si(111)-7 × 7 surface in the initial stage of nitridation. On silicon nitride islands showing a quadruplet LEED pattern a triangular periodicity of white protrusions with an average separation of 10-11 Å was observed in the STM image. Furthermore, the symmetry directions of the white protrusions were rotated about 10° with respect to those of Si(111) surface, which was consistent with the LEED observation of dominant diffraction spots in that direction. The preferential appearance of dark Si adatoms due to bonding with nitrogen atoms on the center adatom sites compared with corner sites is explained in terms of the thermal stability of the product after nitridation. We also found that elevation of the nitridation temperature to 950 °C dramatically improved the quality of the silicon nitride layer owing to the improved mobilities of reacting species.
|Applied Physics A: Materials Science and Processing
|Published - 1998
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Chemistry
- General Materials Science