Initial growth, refractive index, and crystallinity of thermal and plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition AlN films

B. Van Hao, Frank Bert Wiggers, Anubha Gupta, Duc Minh Nguyen, Antonius A.I. Aarnink, Machiel Pieter de Jong, Alexeij Y. Kovalgin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


The authors have studied and compared the initial growth and properties of AlN films deposited on Si(111) by thermal and plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition (ALD) using trimethylaluminum and either ammonia or a N2-H2 mixture as precursors. In-situ spectroscopic ellipsometry was employed to monitor the growth and measure the refractive index of the films during the deposition. The authors found that an incubation stage only occurred for thermal ALD. The linear growth for plasma-enhanced ALD (PEALD) started instantly from the beginning due to the higher nuclei density provided by the presence of plasma. The authors observed the evolution of the refractive index of AlN during the growth, which showed a rapid increase up to a thickness of about 30 nm followed by a saturation. Below this thickness, higher refractive index values were obtained for AlN films grown by PEALD, whereas above that the refractive index was slightly higher for thermal ALD films. X-ray diffraction characterization showed a wurtzite crystalline structure with a (1010) preferential orientation obtained for all the layers with a slightly better crystallinity for films grown by PEALD.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)01A111
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of vacuum science and technology A: vacuum, surfaces, and films
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • EWI-25182
  • IR-92263
  • METIS-306072

Cite this