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Nanocrystalline ZrO2 thin films on silicon fabricated by pulsed-pressure metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (PP-MOCVD)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 January 2011

L. Ramirez*
Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of California–Irvine, Irvine, California 92697-2575
M.L. Mecartney
Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of California–Irvine, Irvine, California 92697-2575
S.P. Krumdieck
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand
a)Address all correspondence to this author. e-mail:
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ZrO2 films deposited on silicon (100) substrates using pulsed-pressure metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (PP-MOCVD) with zirconium n-propoxide (ZnP) Zr(OC3H7)4 were dense and fully crystalline for substrate temperatures of 500 to 700 °C. Film thicknesses were 40 to 815 nm thick, measured after growth using ellipsometry and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The growth rate was between 0.1 μm/h at 500 °C and 1 μm/h at 700 °C. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and x-ray diffraction (XRD) indicated an average grain size of 10 to 20 nm. There was a random orientation of cubic/tetragonal zirconia at the highest experimental temperature of 700 °C. SEM and atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to characterize island height of discontinuous films in the initial stages of growth where defects in the substrate caused preferred nucleation of isolated particles. At later stages of growth, the average surface roughness of continuous films was 30 nm, which revealed a more uniform growth had developed. A growth model is proposed, and optimal growth conditions are suggested for targeted microstructures of ZrO2 films.

Copyright © Materials Research Society 2008

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