First principles modelling of nucleation and growth during atomic layer deposition onto III-V substrates

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Klejna, Sylwia
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University College Cork
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Atomic layer deposition (ALD) is now used in semiconductor fabrication lines to deposit nanometre-thin oxide films, and has thus enabled the introduction of high-permittivity dielectrics into the CMOS gate stack. With interest increasing in transistors based on high mobility substrates, such as GaAs, we are investigating the surface treatments that may improve the interface characteristics. We focus on incubation periods of ALD processes on III-V substrates. We have applied first principles Density Functional Theory (DFT) to investigate detailed chemistry of these early stages of growth, specifically substrate and ALD precursor interaction. We have modelled the ‘clean-up’ effect by which organometallic precursors: trimethylaluminium (TMA) or hafnium and titanium amides clean arsenic oxides off the GaAs surface before ALD growth of dielectric commences and similar effect on Si3N4 substrate. Our simulations show that ‘clean-up’ of an oxide film strongly depends on precursor ligand, its affinity to the oxide and the redox character of the oxide. The predominant pathway for a metalloid oxide such as arsenic oxide is reduction, producing volatile molecules or gettering oxygen from less reducible oxides. An alternative pathway is non-redox ligand exchange, which allows non-reducible oxides (e.g. SiO2) to be cleaned-up. First principles study shows also that alkylamides are more susceptible to decomposition rather than migration on the oxide surface. This improved understanding of the chemical principles underlying ‘clean-up’ allows us to rationalize and predict which precursors will perform the reaction. The comparison is made between selection of metal chlorides, methyls and alkylamides precursors.
III-V substrate , ALD precursor , High-k dielectrics , Reducible oxide , Clean-up effect , Atomic layer deposition , Metal alkylamide , Ligand decomposition , Density functional theory (DFT)
Klejna, S. 2013. First principles modelling of nucleation and growth during atomic layer deposition onto III-V substrates. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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