Laser-excited fluorescence was used to detect gas-phase silicon atoms during chemical vapor deposition from silane. Measurements of relative silicon atom densities were made in a wide variety of conditions ranging in temperature from 600 to 1000°C, total pressure from 0.7 to 630 Torr, and added hydrogen from 0 to 60 Torr. These measurements involved more than a thousandfold change in the Si atom density and indicate that the gas-phase Si atom density is a very sensitive function of the deposition conditions. Profiles of the Si atom density as a function of height above the susceptor reach clear maxima above the susceptor, indicating that Si atoms are formed in the gas phase. The densities increase rapidly with increasing temperature and decrease on addition of H2 to the carrier gas. Beginning at ~100 Torr, decreasing the total pressure in the CVD reactor causes the Si atom density to drop toward zero.

© 1987 Optical Society of America

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