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Consequences of plasma oxidation and vacuum annealing on the chemical properties and electron accumulation of In2O3 surfaces

: Berthold, T.; Rombach, J.; Stauden, T.; Polyakov, V.; Cimalla, V.; Krischok, S.; Bierwagen, O.; Himmerlich, M.


Journal of applied physics 120 (2016), Nr.24, Art. 245301, 10 S.
ISSN: 0021-8979
ISSN: 1089-7550
Fraunhofer IAF ()

The influence of oxygen plasma treatments on the surface chemistry and electronic properties of unintentionally doped and Mg-doped In2O3(111) films grown by plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy or metal-organic chemical vapor deposition is studied by photoelectron spectroscopy. We evaluate the impact of semiconductor processing technology relevant treatments by an inductively coupled oxygen plasma on the electronic surface properties. In order to determine the underlying reaction processes and chemical changes during film surface - oxygen plasma interaction and to identify reasons for the induced electron depletion, in situ characterization was performed implementing a dielectric barrier discharge oxygen plasma as well as vacuum annealing.
The strong depletion of the initial surface electron accumulation layer is identified to be caused by adsorption of reactive oxygen species, which induce an electron transfer from the semiconductor to localized adsorbate states. The chemical modification is found to be restricted to the topmost surface and adsorbate layers. The change in band bending mainly depends on the amount of attached oxygen adatoms and the film bulk electron concentration as confirmed by calculations of the influence of surface state density on the electron concentration and band edge profile using coupled Schroedinger-Poisson calculations. During plasma oxidation, hydrocarbon surface impurities are effectively removed and surface defect states, attributed to oxygen vacancies, vanish. The recurring surface electron accumulation after subsequent vacuum annealing can be consequently explained by surface oxygen vacancies.