Atomic Structure of Non-Basal-Plane SiC Surfaces: Hydrogen Etching and Surface Phase Transformations


A-plane (11-20) and diagonal cut (1-102) and (-110-2) surfaces of 4H-SiC have been investigated using atomic force microscopy (AFM), low-energy electron diffraction (LEED), Auger electron spectroscopy (AES), X-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS) and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). After hydrogen etching the surfaces show large, flat terraces. On SiC(11-20) steps down to single atomic heights are observed. On the diagonal cut surfaces steps run parallel and perpendicular to the [-1101] direction, yet drastically different morphologies for the two isomorphic orientations are found. All surfaces immediately display a sharp LEED pattern. For SiC(1-102) and SiC(-110-2) the additional significant presence of oxygen in the AES spectra indicates the development of an ordered oxide. All three surfaces show an oxygen free, well ordered surface after Si deposition and annealing. A transformation between different surface phases is observed upon annealing.

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Soubatch, S., Lee, W.Y., Hetzel, M. et al. Atomic Structure of Non-Basal-Plane SiC Surfaces: Hydrogen Etching and Surface Phase Transformations. MRS Online Proceedings Library 911, 701 (2005).

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