Temporally and Spatially Resolved Plasma Spectroscopy in Pulsed Laser Deposition of Ultra-Thin Boron Nitride Films (Postprint)
OSTP Journal Article
AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB United States
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Physical vapor deposition PVD has recently been investigated as a viable, alternative growth technique for two-dimensional materials with multiple benefits over other vapor deposition synthesis methods. The high kinetic energies and chemical reactivities of the condensing species formed from PVD processes can facilitate growth over large areas and at reduced substrate temperatures. In this study, chemistry, kinetic energies, time of flight data, and spatial distributions within a PVD plasma plume ablated from a boron nitride BN target by a KrF laser at different pressures of nitrogen gas were investigated. Time resolved spectroscopy and wavelength specific imaging were used to identify and track atomic neutral and ionized species including B, B, N, N, and molecular species including N2, N2, and BN. Formation and decay of these species formed both from ablation of the target and from interactions with the background gas were investigated and provided insights into fundamental growth mechanisms of continuous, amorphous boron nitride thin films. The correlation of the plasma diagnostic results with film chemical composition and thickness uniformity studies helped to identify that a predominant mechanism for BN film formation is condensation surface recombination of boron ions and neutral atomic nitrogen species. These species arrive nearly simultaneously to the substrate location, and BN formation occurs microseconds before arrival of majority of N ions generated by plume collisions with background molecular nitrogen. The energetic nature and extended dwelling time of incident N ions at the substrate location was found to negatively impact resulting BN film stoichiometry and thickness.