Abstract

Thin silicon nitride (Si1–xNx) films were synthesized without substrate heating by means of reactive argon-ion sputtering of either silicon or a silicon nitride target in the 1000–1500-eV energy range at a nitrogen partial pressure of 1.3 × 10−2 Pa and with simultaneous nitrogen ion-assisted bombardment in the 300–500-eV low energy range. The extinction coefficient and refractive index of the films were directly dependent on the N+ ion-to-atom arrival ratio, assisted ion energy, film growth rate, and indicated a correlation with film stoichiometry and disorder. Si3N4 films were obtained for N+ ion/Si atom arrival ratios from 0.6 to 1.7 and for different Si:N atom arrival rates and had a refractive index as high as 2.04 (633 nm) and a low hydrogen content as indicated by IR spectra.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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