Plasma and Laser-Enhanced Deposition of Powders and Thin Films.
The objective of this thesis has been the development of novel plasma and laser based techniques for the deposition and characterization of thin films and nano-scale powders. The different energy sources utilized for excitation and break -down of reactive species prior to deposition include an RF plasma discharge, an excimer laser and a CO _2 laser. Nanometer-scale (10-20 nm) powders and thin films of aluminum nitride (AlN) have been successfully deposited in a glow discharge by reacting trimethylaluminum and ammonia. Macroquantities (~800 mg/hr) of powder have been collected at the centers of two vortices around which the reactant gases swirl. Powders of AlN have large surface areas (85 m^2/g) and are free from oxygen contamination. Diamond-like-carbon (DLC) films have been deposited from ternary mixtures of butadiene, argon and hydrogen. DLC films have been etched in O _2 and CF_4/O _2 plasmas. The etching behavior was correlated with the deposition feed gas composition by combining the etch rate, bias voltage during deposition and the deposition rate into a new non-dimensional number. Two new processes for depositing copper films have been developed. The first technique involves the hydrogen plasma reduction of copper formate films and the second technique involves the reactive excimer laser ablation of copper formate. Particle forming plasmas have been characterized by measuring the light scattering intensity during the deposition of silicon nitride from silane/ammonia plasmas. Both spatial variations and transients during the plasma start -up and shut-off steps have been measured. The ultraviolet (vacuum ultraviolet and extreme ultraviolet) reflectance characteristics of AlN, DLC and SiC thin films has been measured. AlN and SiC films exhibit a relatively high (~20-40%) reflectance in the different regions of the ultraviolet spectrum. An improved algorithm has been developed for estimating thin film parameters such as thickness, refractive index, band-gap, and slope of the absorption edge from normal incidence reflectance measurements. The new algorithm is more accurate than the existing methods for calculating the optimal parameters for strongly absorbing films.
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- Engineering: Chemical; Engineering: Materials Science; Physics: Optics