In situ growth rate measurement and nucleation enhancement for microwave plasma CVD of diamond
Laser reflection interferometry (LRI) has been shown to be a useful in situ technique for measuring growth rate of diamond during microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition (MPCVD). Current alternatives to LRI usually involve ex situ analysis such as cross-sectional SEM or profilometry. The ability to measure the growth rate in 'real-time' has allowed the variation of processing parameters during a single deposition and thus the extraction of much more information in a fraction of the time. In situ monitoring of growth processes also makes it possible to perform closed loop process control with better reproducibility and quality control. Unfortunately, LRI requires a relatively smooth surface to avoid surface scattering and the commensurate drop in reflected intensity. This problem was remedied by greatly enhancing the diamond particle nucleation via the deposition of an intermediate carbon layer using substrate biasing. When an unscratched silicon wafer is pretreated by biasing negatively relative to ground while in a methane-hydrogen plasma, nucleation densities much higher than those achieved on scratched silicon wafers are obtained. The enhanced nucleation allows a complete film composed of small grains to form in a relatively short time, resulting in a much smoother surface than is obtained from a film grown at lower nucleation densities.