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25 September 2008 An in-situ investigation of the surface oxidation of ultra-thin films of Ni and Hf
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Single wavelength (670 nm laser diode) optical monitoring of reflectance at 1 second intervals was used to observe the surface oxidation of Ni and Hafnium metal films in-situ in a low pressure oxygen atmosphere and also in a microwave plasma oxygen environment. After depositing thin metal films by sputtering in an oxygen-free environment, the observed reflectance quickly decreased when low pressure oxygen gas was introduced into the vacuum chamber and reached a stable value within a few seconds, after formation of a thin oxide layer. An additional rapid fall in reflectance and increase in oxide thickness was observed when a microwave plasma generator was used to produce an oxygen plasma containing atomic oxygen. Based on pre-determined optical properties of the metal and metal oxide films, the optical monitoring data was fitted to obtain the thickness of the metal oxide as a function of time. The fitting results showed that the exposure to low pressure oxygen forms an equilibrium thickness of less than 0.5 nm of NiOx and 0.78 nm of HfOx, while the oxygen microwave plasma treatment produces an equilibrium thickness of 1.5 nm for both NiOx and HfOx.
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Shigeng Song and Frank Placido "An in-situ investigation of the surface oxidation of ultra-thin films of Ni and Hf", Proc. SPIE 7101, Advances in Optical Thin Films III, 710120 (25 September 2008);

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