Large-scale molecular dynamics simulations of TiN/TiN(001) epitaxial film growth

D Edstrom and DG Sangiovanni and L Hultman and I Petrov and JE Greene and V Chirita, JOURNAL OF VACUUM SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY A, 34, 041509 (2016).

DOI: 10.1116/1.4953404

Large-scale classical molecular dynamics simulations of epitaxial TiN/TiN(001) thin film growth at 1200K are carried out using incident flux ratios N/Ti -1, 2, and 4. The films are analyzed as a function of composition, island size distribution, island edge orientation, and vacancy formation. Results show that N/Ti-1 films are globally understoichiometric with dispersed Ti-rich surface regions which serve as traps to nucleate 111-oriented islands, leading to local epitaxial breakdown. Films grown with N/Ti=2 are approximately stoichiometric and the growth mode is closer to layer-by-layer, while N/Ti-4 films are stoichiometric with N-rich surfaces. As N/Ti is increased from 1 to 4, island edges are increasingly polar, i. e., 110-oriented, and N-terminated to accommodate the excess N flux, some of which is lost by reflection of incident N atoms. N vacancies are produced in the surface layer during film deposition with N/Ti-1 due to the formation and subsequent desorption of N-2 molecules composed of a N adatom and a N surface atom, as well as itinerant Ti adatoms pulling up N surface atoms. The N vacancy concentration is significantly reduced as N/Ti is increased to 2; with N/Ti-4, Ti vacancies dominate. Overall, our results show that an insufficient N/Ti ratio leads to surface roughening via nucleation of small dispersed 111 islands, whereas high N/Ti ratios result in surface roughening due to more rapid upper-layer nucleation and mound formation. The growth mode of N/Ti-2 films, which have smoother surfaces, is closer to layer-by-layer. (C) 2016 American Vacuum Society.

Return to Publications page