Surface reactions of atomic halogen atoms play important roles in various plasma etching processes, commonly used in microlectronics manufacturing. However, relatively little is known about the surface chemistry of these key reactive intermediates. Previous measurements of the recombination coefficients of Cl, Br, and F on various surfaces in a molecular beam apparatus indicated that the recombination reaction is pseudofirst order [G. P. Kota, J. W. Coburn, and D. B. Graves, J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A 16, 270 (1998); 16, 2215 (1998)]. One mechanism that would result in pseudofirst order kinetics is a two-step process in which the first halogen atom adsorbs into a relatively strongly bound chemisorbed state, and the second atom reacts with it either through a direct reaction, or after being physisorbed onto the halogenated surface. In this article, we report experiments in which surfaces are first exposed to a molecular beam of one type of halogen atom, then the surface is exposed to a second type of halogen. During the second exposure, the heteronuclear reaction product is monitored with a mass spectrometer. Finally, the surface is sputtered and the mass spectrometer is used to detect any remaining presence of the original halogen atom. Analogous experiments were also performed with isotopically enriched mixtures of chlorine. These experiments unambiguously demonstrate that halogen atom surface recombination involves a two step adsorption-abstraction mechanism. Under all conditions studied, the surface recombination reactions proceeded at rates on the order of surface collision frequencies. The relative magnitudes of the heteronuclear rates (as a function of surface composition and halogen atom type) scaled in the same way as the homonuclear recombination probabilities measured previously. In every case examined, after the second halogen exposure, the surface retained a significant coverage of the halogen that had been originally exposed to the surface. This leads to the conclusion that only a fraction of the strongly bound surface sites are available for abstraction by free radical attack. Absolute calibration of the incident and evolved species fluxes allowed an estimate to be made of the reactive site densities for several surfaces. These ranged from 1012 to 1015cm-2 depending on the surface.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)