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Self‐limiting Oxidation For Fabricating Sub‐5 Nm Silicon Nanowires

H. Liu, D. Biegelsen, Fernando Ponce, N. Johnson, R. Pease
Published 1994 · Materials Science

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The ability to control structural dimensions below 5 nm is essential for a systematic study of the optical and electrical properties of Si nanostructures. A combination of electron beam lithography, NF3 reactive ion etching, and dry thermal oxidation has been successfully implemented to yield 2‐nm‐wide Si nanowires with aspect ratio of more than 100 to 1. With a sideview transmission electron microscopy technique, the oxidation progression of Si nanowires was characterized over a range of temperature from 800 to 1200 °C. A previously reported self‐limiting oxidation phenomenon was found to occur only for oxidation temperatures below 950 °C. A preliminary model suggests that increase in the activation energy of oxidant diffusivity in a highly stressed oxide may be the main mechanism for slowing down the oxidation rate in the self‐limiting regime.
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