Mechanical and Optical Properties of Amorphous SiN-Based Films Prepared By ECR PECVD and CCP PECVD Academic Article uri icon

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  • Hydrogenated amorphous silicon nitride (a-SiN:H) and silicon carbonitride (a-SiCN:H) films grown by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) are widely investigated for their interesting optical and electrical properties [1]. In this work, we discuss the effect of the deposition power on SiN-based films during plasma deposition. The influence on the optical and mechanical properties of the films was investigated. In order to study this issue on a broader basis, two types of plasmas were applied to deposit 0.5 to 1.5 μm a-SiN:H and a-SiCN:H films. First, a-SiN:H and a-SiCN:H films were deposited by electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) PECVD using the same deposition parameters for all films. During the deposition process, the carbon content in the a-SiCN:H thin films was introduced into the chamber through a pure CH4 gas source to avoid any perturbation on the deposition pressure. Second, a-SiN:H films were deposited by a capacitively coupled plasma reactor CCP PECVD using a SiH4/NH3/N2/Ar precursor mixture. In both deposition processes, the ion bombardment energy was tuned only by the deposition power. The mechanical properties of the films were determined ex-situ by profilometry to evaluate the residual stress using the wafer curvature method and by nanoindentation to determine Young’s modulus and hardness of the films. The thickness and the refractive index were measured by variable angle spectroscopic ellipsometry (VASE). It was observed that the evolution of the residual stress according to the deposition power in the ECR PECVD was different from the CCP PECVD. Besides, we notice a slight increase in the refractive index when the residual stress becomes more compressive as illustrated in figure 1 for a-SiN:H and a-SiCN:H films. Through this discussion, we try to have a better understanding of the different interactions taking place when the deposition power increases in terms of ion bombardment energy. Then, we will study the effect of ion bombardment on the film structure based on the composition and structure of the films and the hydrogen bond concentration measured by Fourier transmission infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). In addition, we have also investigated the influence of carbon incorporation on a-SiN:H thin film properties. We notice a decrease in the refractive index and an increase in the compressive residual stress caused by the carbon incorporation. [1] A. Abdelal, Z. Khatami, and P. Mascher, “Optical and Electrical Properties of ECR-PECVD Grown SiCN Thin Films,” ECS Meet. Abstr., vol. MA2018-01, no. 17, p. 1189, Apr. 2018, doi: 10.1149/ma2018-01/17/1189. Figure 1


  • Ahammou, Brahim
  • Abdelal, Aysegul
  • Levallois, Christophe
  • Landesman, Jean-Pierre
  • Mascher, Peter

publication date

  • May 30, 2021