This award is made to Colorado State University in support of the reseach of Prof. Ellen R. Fisher by the Advanced Materials Program in the Chemistry Division and the Electronic Materials Program in the Division of Materials Research. The focus of the research will be a fundamental study of plasma deposition and etching mechanisms for silicon-based materials as measured mainly by the imaging of radicals interacting with surfaces (IRIS). The objectives of the research are to (1) understand interactions between radicals and surfaces, (2) characterize the energetics of plasma-generated radicals, (3) explore the balance between etching and deposition in halogen-based plasmas, and (4) develop temporally-resolved experiments for pulsed plasma systems. Work elements include measuring the surface reactivity of plasma species during deposition and etching of semiconductor materials, determining the velocity distributions of radicals under different plasma conditions as well as for radicals scattering from surfaces, examining the effect of modulating the molecular beam source and characterizing the materials properties of plasma processed substrates through independent surface analysis. Plasma species studied will be methyl and methylene, alkoxy, hydroxy, halogen, hydrosilyl, silyl and halosilyl, all on silicon and silicon dioxide substrates.
Plasma deposition and etching processes are widely employed in the microelectronics industry for processing silicon-based materials. This research will advance the molecular level understanding of the chemical processes which occur on semiconductor surfaces and are likely to find applications in gate oxides, passivation layers, dielectrics for integrated circuits, solar cells, flat panel displays and photoreceptors. Additionally, the highly interdisciplinary nature of the research will provide students with excellent training for careers in the microelectronics industry.