We have evaluated the use of HIF vapor cleaning using an Advantage Edge 2000 commercial etcher as a preclean for low temperature UHV/CVD silicon epitaxy (LTE). Surface analysis by contact angle, XPS and Optically Stimulated Electron Emission (OSEE) measurements indicate that vapor HF treated surfaces have higher levels of impurities and are less stable than surfaces dipped in 10:1 diluted HF. Interfacial SIMS measurements and defect analysis using plan-view TEM after epitaxial growth indicate that the vapor treated samples also had higher levels of interfacial oxygen and surface defects. The results indicate that vapor HF precleaning is less effective for LTE than an aqueous HF dip since it provides poorer quality hydrogen passivation of the silicon surface.
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