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The use of a radio frequency (rf) glow discharge or plasma has recently come into favor for the deposition of thin films. In plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD), chemical reactions can be carried out at low (<300°C) temperatures, since the energy needed to break chemical bonds is supplied by the high-energy electrons generated by the applied rf field. Further, due to the complex chemistry occurring within the glow discharge, materials with unique properties can be fabricated. This paper reviews the characteristics of nonequilibrium glow discharges as used for PECVD of silicon and silicon-containing films. The glow-discharge-modified chemistry of film deposition is discussed as it relates to the physical and chemical properties of the resulting films. Examples include amorphous and single-crystal silicon films, as well as silicon dioxide and silicon nitride films, which are widely used as intermetallic and passivation layers in integrated circuit manufacture.
chemical vapor deposition, plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition, silicon film, silicon-containing film, silicon dioxide, silicon nitride, passivation layer
Associate Professor, University of California, and Materials and Molecular Research Division, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Berkeley, Calif.