Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Stephen E. Saddow, Ph.D.


Silicon carbide, Heteroepitaxy, Crystal defects, Chemical vapor deposition, Polysilicon


The heteroepitaxial growth of cubic silicon carbide (3C-SiC) on (111) silicon (Si) substrates, via a horizontal hot-wall chemical vapor deposition (CVD) reactor, has been achieved. Growth was conducted using a two step process: first the Si substrate surface is converted to SiC via a carbonization process and second the growth of 3C-SiC is performed on the initial carbonized layer. During carbonization, the surface of the Si is converted to 3C-SiC, which helps to minimize the stress in the growing crystal. Propane (C3H8) and silane (SiH4), diluted in hydrogen (H2), were used as the carbon and silicon source, respectively. A deposition rate of approximately 10 µm/h was established during the initial process at a temperature of ~1380 °C. The optimized process produced films with X-ray rocking curve full-width at half-maximum (FWHM) values of 219 arcsec, which is significantly better than any other published results in the literature.

Once this process was developed a lower temperature process was developed at a slower growth rate of ~2 µm/h at 1225 °C. The crystal quality was inferior at the reduced temperature but this new process allows for the growth of 3C-SiC(111) films on oxide release layers for MEMS applications. In addition, for electronic device applications, a lower temperature process reduces the generation of defects caused by the nearly 8 % mismatch in the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) between 3C-SiC and Si. Finally a new process using a poly-Si seed layer deposited on an oxide-coated Si wafer was used to form 3C-SiC films for MEMS applications. The results indicated initially that the films may even be monocrystalline (based on X-ray evaluation) but later analysis performed using TEM indicated they were highly-ordered polycrystalline films. The grown 3C-SiC films were analyzed using a variety of characterization techniques.

The thickness of the films was assessed through Fourier Transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, and confirmed (in the case of growth on poly-Si seed layers) by cross-section scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The SEM cross-sections were also used to investigate the 3C-SiC/oxide interface. The surface morphology of the films was inspected via Nomarsky interference optical microscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM), and SEM. The crystalline quality of the films was determined through X-ray diffraction (XRD).