Thermally induced structural changes in nanoporous silicon dioxide from x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy

Martin T.K. Soh, J. H. Thomas, Joseph J. Talghader

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Morphological changes due to adsorbed gases in nanoporous silicon dioxide thin films are demonstrated using in situ x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy at temperatures in the range 20≤T≤300 °C. Adsorbed hydrogen bonded water vapor is observed to relax the surface bond strain of low-temperature electron-beam deposited silicon dioxide up to 100 °C. This was determined by measuring the width of the Si 2p and O 1s photoemission peak full widths at half maximum, which are distinctly smaller for films with adsorbed water vapor than for the same films after vapor has been outgassed by heating above 100 °C. In situ heating in the range 100<T<200 °C decreases the peak width as the atoms gain sufficient energy to establish a more homogeneous local bonding environment. This process is overshadowed above 200 °C as thermally induced localized bond strains and charge inhomogeneities at the surface begin to introduce disorder, as demonstrated in the repeatable increase in peak spread with temperature for thermally grown silicon dioxide and quartz. The in vacuo peak width behavior in subsequent thermal cycles is repeatable for the nanoporous thin films. However, if the films are reexposed to atmosphere, the initial increase in peak width is seen again.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number026606JVA
Pages (from-to)2147-2150
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Vacuum Science and Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces and Films
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank N. Mohan of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for loaning the power supply used to heat the specimens during XPS and N. Savvides of CSIRO Industrial Physics (Lindfield 2070, Australia) for constructive comments and suggestions. One of the authors (M.T.K.S.) is grateful to the Australian-American Fulbright Commission (Deakin 2600, Australia) and Clough Ltd. (Perth 6000, Australia) for sponsoring his research fellowship in the United States. This work was financially supported by the United States Air Force Office of Scientific Research (Contract No. FA9550-05-1-0399; Program Monitor: C. Lee). One of the authors (M.T.K.S.) was a 2005-6 Fulbright Fellow at the University of Minnesota.


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