Nanometer-scale wetting of the silicon surface by its equilibrium oxide

TitleNanometer-scale wetting of the silicon surface by its equilibrium oxide
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsTang, M, Ramos, AV, Jud, E, Chung, S-Y, Gautier-Soyer, M, Cannon, RM, Carter, WCraig, Chiang, YM
Pagination1891 - 1896
Date Published2008/03/04/

Despite the extremely broad technical applications of the Si/SiO2 structure, the equilibrium wetting properties of silicon oxide on silicon are poorly understood. Here, we produce new results in which a solid-state buffer method is used to systematically titrate oxygen activity about the Si/SiO2 coexistence value. The equilibrium morphology at the Si(001) surface over > 8 decades of Po-2 about coexistence is revealed to be a uniform sub-stoichiometric SiOx film of sub-manometer thickness, coexisting with secondary island structures which coarsen with annealing time. A new thermodynamic method using chemical potential to stabilize and control surficial oxides in nanoscale devices is suggested.