Applied Surface Science, Vol.436, 887-892, 2018
Real-time spectro-ellipsometric approach to distinguish between two-dimensional Ge layer growth and Ge dot formation on SiO2 substrates
Morphological evolution of Ge layers on SiO2 substrates grown by photo-excited chemical vapor deposition from GeH4 was monitored in real time by recording (psi, Delta) angles of spectroscopic ellipsometry and ex-situ analyzed by atomic force microscopy (AFM). Distinct psi-Delta trajectory shapes were demonstrated to discriminate the two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) growth modes. While the trajectory of 2D growth is characterized by a one-turn spiral, that of 3D growth consisted of three sections corresponding to initial wetting of the SiO2 surface, creation of nucleation centers, and dot growth. The critical point where the system turns into 2D or 3D growth can be in situ identified in terms of the directions of the psi-Delta trajectories. AFM images revealed characteristic changes in the microstructure, including self-assembling dots and dots merging with one another. While the root-mean-square surface roughness increased linearly against film thickness, the maximum peak-to-valley height deviated once from linear dependence and later returned back to it, which reflected coarsening of dots and embedding of valleys between dots. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.