Influence of low ion bombardment energy on interface formation and thin film growth in a plasma-CVD environment

A. Amassian*, P. Desjardins, L. Martinu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We show that ion bombardment in the range of a few hundreds of eV used in ion- and plasma-assisted deposition processes leads to significant interface broadening due to ion mixing during the initial stages of film deposition. First, we study the modifications of a c-Si (100) target exposed to an O 2 plasma at the radio frequency powered electrode using in situ real time spectroscopic ellipsometry (RTSE). We detect important ion-bulk interactions, such as implantation, damage recoils, and oxidation to a depth of up to ∼10 nm, which we confirm and validate with Monte-Carlo TRIDYN simulations based on binary collision calculations assuming plasma as a broad energy ion source. RTSE was then used to monitor TiO2 deposition on SiO2 under similar ion bombardment conditions, we observed formation of a 3 to 4 nm thick interfacial layer, while TRIDYN simulations show that ion bombardment results mainly in ion mixing of Ti and Si atoms. Simulated interface thickness scales as a square root of ion fluence, in agreement with ion mixing laws for light elements with Z < 20. At high ion-to-neutral ratios, simulations predict that the majority of Ti atoms are knocked into the bulk, suggesting that a substantial part of film deposition occurs below the growth surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-416
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings, Annual Technical Conference - Society of Vacuum Coaters
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Ellipsometry
  • Interface
  • Ion bombardment
  • Plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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