Low temperature removal of surface oxides and hydrocarbons from Ge(100) using atomic hydrogen

Result date: 01/01/2016
Author: M. Walker,
Institute: Department of Physics, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
Publication: Appl. Surf. Sci.,
Instrument: SPHERA
Germanium is a group IV semiconductor with many current and potential applications in the modern semiconductor industry. Key to expanding the use of Ge is a reliable method for the removal of surface contamination, including oxides which are naturally formed during the exposure of Ge thin films to atmospheric conditions. A process for achieving this task at lower temperatures would be highly advantageous, where the underlying device architecture will not diffuse through the Ge film while also avoiding electronic damage induced by ion irradiation. Atomic hydrogen cleaning (AHC) offers a low-temperature, damage-free alternative to the common ion bombardment and annealing (IBA) technique which is widely employed. In this work, we demonstrate with X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) that the AHC method is effective in removing surface oxides and hydrocarbons, yielding an almost completely clean surface when the AHC is conducted at a temperature of 250 °C. We compare the post-AHC cleanliness and (2 × 1) low energy electron diffraction (LEED) pattern to that obtained via IBA, where the sample is annealed at 600 °C. We also demonstrate that the combination of a sample temperature of 250 °C and atomic H dosing is required to clean the surface. Lower temperatures prove less effective in removal of the oxide layer and hydrocarbons, whilst annealing in ultra-high vacuum conditions only removes weakly bound hydrocarbons. Finally, we examine the subsequent H-termination of an IBA-cleaned sample using XPS, LEED and ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy (UPS) in order to examine changes in the work function of Ge(100) upon hydrogenation.