Oxidation of metal thin films by atomic oxygen: A low energy ion scattering study

C.R. Stilhano Vilas Boas*, J.M. Sturm, F. Bijkerk

*Corresponding author for this work

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13 Citations (Scopus)
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In this study, we combine low-energy ion scattering (LEIS) static and sputter depth profiles for characterization of the oxidation kinetics on Zr, Mo, Ru, and Ta films of various thicknesses, followed by exposure to atomic oxygen at room temperature (∼20 °C). A method for nondestructive determination of the oxide growth rate via LEIS static depth profiling (static DP) is presented in detail. This method shows high sensitivity to the oxide thickness formed, and the results are in agreement with those obtained by X-ray reflectometry and sputter depth profiling (sputter DP). Sequential exposures of oxygen isotopes in combination with LEIS sputter DP are applied to elucidate the growth mechanism of the oxide films. The results indicate that the oxidation kinetics at the applied experimental conditions is directly influenced by the metal work function, characterizing a Cabrera-Mott growth type. The maximum thickness of the formed oxide and oxide growth rate are in the order Zr ≈ Ta > Mo > Ru. The combining of analysis by LEIS static DP and isotope tracing sputter DP is decisive in the characterization of oxidation kinetics in the room temperature regime
Original languageEnglish
Article number155301
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2019


  • Isotopes
  • Depth profiling techniques
  • Ion scattering
  • Thin Films
  • X-Ray Reflectivity
  • Microelectronics
  • Magnetron sputtering

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