Silicon oxide decomposition and desorption during the thermal oxidation of silicon

D. Starodub, E. P. Gusev, Eric Garfunkel, T. Gustafsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


The thermal oxidation of silicon is normally considered to occur via two different routes. At higher O2 pressures and lower temperature SiO2(s) film growth occurs ("passive" oxidation), while at lower O2 pressures and higher temperature SiO(g) is desorbed in an etching process ("active" oxidation). We have measured the yield of SiO into the gas phase in a wide range of dry O2 pressures (10-7-10-5 Torr) and Si substrate temperatures (620-870°C) in the passive as well as the active oxidation regimes. A phase diagram for silicon oxidation in this pressure-temperature region is obtained. We have found evidence for small but measurable yields of SiO(g) desorbing from the nascent oxide film during the initial stages of passive oxidation, even when the oxide film continuously covers the surface. A sensitive method for detecting volatile products based on condensation of desorbed species is described.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-52
Number of pages8
JournalSurface Review and Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces

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