The surface of 3C-SiC(001) single-crystal epilayers grown on Si(001) substrates is well known to be inhomogeneous and defective. Therefore, the control and understanding at the atomic scale of 3C-SiC surfaces is a key issue. We study the effect of hydrogen etching at different temperatures on the morphology of 3C-SiC(001) surfaces by using Nomarksi optical microscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). As-grown 3C-SiC(001) samples have been hydrogen etched in a horizontal hot-wall chemical vapor deposition (CVD) reactor at atmospheric pressure for different times and temperatures. Flat, high-quality surfaces presenting defined atomic terraces were observed within the 3C-SiC grain boundaries after etching at 1200°C for 30 minutes. Higher etching temperatures resulted in surfaces with step bunching and enlarged surface defects. Samples etched under the best conditions have been studied using low-energy electron diffraction (LEED) and Auger electron spectroscopy (AES).
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Coletti, C., Hetzel, M., Virojanadara, C. et al. Surface morphology and structure of hydrogen etched 3C-SiC(001) on Si(001). MRS Online Proceedings Library 911, 802 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-0911-B08-02