The interaction of O2(g) with clean Si(s) surfaces at high temperature and low pressure leads to an etching reaction, 1/2 O2(g) + Si(s) → SiO(g), which results in the evolution of SiO molecules from the surface. Above a critical O2 pressure, an oxide film SiO2(s) begins to grow. The evolution of diatomic SiO during the early stages of film growth may provide a mechanism to account for deviations from standard models of oxidation kinetics for thin oxides, and for the results of oxygen isotope tracer studies of oxide formation. In order to monitor the rate of SiO evolution, we have made in-situ measurements of the SiO concentration in the gas phase, using a laser-induced fluorescence technique. With this method, SiO(g) can be monitored in the furnace with good spatial resolution and a sensitivity limit of ˜ 106 molecules cm−3. Measurements of SiO evolution and the implications for oxide growth will be discussed.
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