Thermal stability of TiO 2, ZrO 2, or Hf O 2 on Si(100) by photoelectron emission microscopy

M. C. Zeman, C. C. Fulton, G. Lucovsky, R. J. Nemanich, W. C. Yang

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29 Scopus citations


The thermal stability of thin films (3 nm) of transition-metal (TM) oxides (Ti O2, Zr O2, and Hf O2) grown on ultrathin (∼0.5 nm) Si O2 buffer layers on Si(100) surfaces was investigated with ultraviolet photoelectron emission microscopy (UV-PEEM). The decomposition of the TM oxides was observed in the PEEM during ultrahigh-vacuum annealing at temperatures of ∼870, ∼900, and ∼1000 °C for the Ti O2, Zr O2, and Hf O2, respectively. Following the decomposition reaction, atomic force microscopy measurements of the annealed surfaces revealed a high density of islands in the decomposed regions. The degradation of the TM oxide films is attributed to a reaction occurring at defects at the TM oxide/ Si O2 Si interfaces, which forms SiO species. Once a portion of the interfacial Si O2 layer is desorbed as a result of this reaction, Si from the substrate can diffuse into contact with the TM oxide layer, resulting in the formation of a TM silicide and the evolution of SiO. This process continues until the entire TM oxide layer is consumed and only silicide islands remain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number023519
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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