Simulations of Silicon Carbide Chemical Vapor Deposition

University dissertation from Linköping : Linköping University Electronic Press

Abstract: Most of the modern electronics technology is based on the semiconducting material silicon. The increasing demands for smaller electronic devices with improved performance at lower costs drive the conventional silicon technology to its limits. To meet the requirements from the industry and to explore new application areas, other materials and fabrication methods must be used. For devices operating at high powers, high temperatures and high frequencies, the so-called wide bandgap semiconductors can be used with great success. Silicon carbide (SiC) and III-nitrides are wide bandgap materials that have gained increased interest in recent years. One important technique in manufacturing of electronic devices is chemical vapor deposition (CVD), by which thin layers can be deposited. These layers may have different electrical properties, depending on the choice of material and doping. Generally in CVD, a reactive gas mixture flows through a heated reactor chamber, where the substrates are placed. Complex chemical reactions take place in the gas and on the substrate surface, leading to many intermediate species and by-products, and eventually to the desired deposition. For the growth of device quality material it is important to be able to control the properties of the grown layers. These properties generally depend on the growth conditions in the reaction chamber, and on the chemistry of the deposition process. So far, empirical trial-and-error methods have been employed in the development of growth processes. Due to the lack of basic understanding of the governing physical processes, progress is costly and time consuming. Improving and optimizing the CVD process, as well as improving the fundamental understanding of the whole process is of great importance when good quality material should be produced. For this, computer simulations of the relevant physical and chemical phenomena can provide the necessary tools. This thesis focuses on computer simulations of the CVD process, in particular CVD of SiC. Simulations can be used not only as a tool for optimizing growth processes and reactor designs, they can also give information about physical phenomena that are difficult to measure, such as the gas-phase composition or the flow paths inside the reactor.Heating of the CVD susceptor is a central part of the process. For the growth of high quality SiC a relatively high temperature must be used. A convenient method for heating to high temperatures is by induction. A low resistive material, such as graphite, is placed inside a coil, which is given an alternating current. The graphite is then heated by the induced currents due to ohmic resistance. In this thesis the temperature distribution inside a CVD reactor, and how it is influenced by changes in coil frequency, power input to the coil and graphite thickness, is investigated. It is shown that by changing the placement and shape of the coil and by using insulation material correctly, a more uniform temperature distribution can be obtained.A model for the growth of SiC is used to predict growth rates at various process parameters. A number of possible factors influencing the growth rate are investigated using this model. The importance of including thermal diffusion and the effect of etching by hydrogen is shown, and the effect of parasitic growth investigated. Simulations show a mass transport limited growth, as seen from experiments.An improved susceptor design with an up-lifted substrate holder plate is investigated and compared to a conventional hot-wall reactor and to a cold-wall reactor. It is shown that stress induced by thermal gradients through the substrate is significantly reduced in the hot-wall reactor, and that stress due to backside growth can be diminished using the new design. Positive side effects are that slightly higher growth rates can be achieved, and that the growth temperature can be slightly lowered in the new susceptor.The doping incorporation behavior is thoroughly investigated experimentally for intentional doping with nitrogen and aluminum. The doping incorporation on both faces of SiC, as well as on two different polytypes is investigated. Equilibrium calculations are preformed, giving possible candidates for species responsible for the doping incorporation. To predict nitrogen doping concentrations, a simplified quantitative model is developed and applied to a large number of process parameters. It is seen that the same species as predicted by equilibrium calculations are produced, but the reactions producing these species are relatively slow, so that the highest concentrations are at the outlet of the reactor. It is thus concluded that N2 must be the major specie responsible for the nitrogen incorporation in SiC.For the growth of III-nitrides, ammonia is often used to give the nitrogen needed. It is well known that ammonia forms a solid adduct with the metalorganic gas, which is used as the source for the group III elements. It would thus be beneficial to use some other gas instead of ammonia. Since purity is of great importance, N2 gas would be the preferred choice. However, N2 is a very stable molecule and difficult to crack, even at high temperatures. It is shown that hydrogen can help in cracking nitrogen, and that growth of III-nitrides can be performed using N2 as the nitrogen-bearing gas, by only small changes to a conventional hot-wall CVD reactor.