Self-cleaning and surface chemical reactions during hafnium dioxide atomic layer deposition on indium arsenide

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Atomic layer deposition (ALD) enables the ultrathin high-quality oxide layers that are central to all modern metal-oxide-semiconductor circuits. Crucial to achieving superior device performance are the chemical reactions during the first deposition cycle, which could ultimately result in atomic-scale perfection of the semiconductor-oxide interface. Here, we directly observe the chemical reactions at the surface during the first cycle of hafnium dioxide deposition on indium arsenide under realistic synthesis conditions using photoelectron spectroscopy. We find that the widely used ligand exchange model of the ALD process for the removal of native oxide on the semiconductor and the simultaneous formation of the first hafnium dioxide layer must be significantly revised. Our study provides substantial evidence that the efficiency of the self-cleaning process and the quality of the resulting semiconductor-oxide interface can be controlled by the molecular adsorption process of the ALD precursors, rather than the subsequent oxide formation.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Nano Technology
Original languageEnglish
Article number1412
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018 Dec 1
Publication categoryResearch