Design and Characterization of a UHV Arcjet Nitrogen Source


A UHV-compatible nitrogen arcjet suitable for the growth of III-nitrides by molecular beam epitaxy is described and characterized. The arcjet operates at powers between 10W and 300W (the highest power used for these studies); typical nitrogen flows range between 5sccm and 100sccm. Optical emission spectra show the presence of activated atomic (N*) and molecular (N2*) nitrogen. A collisional radiative equilibrium model has been employed to provide insight into the excitation state of the active nitrogen. These results indicate that the arcjet is capable of supplying atomic nitrogen fluxes consistent with growth rates on the order of several monolayers per second. Langmuir probe measurements conducted near the position of the sample holder in the MBE chamber show the charged particle flux density is very low. The arcjet operates over a large powerpressure parameter space, and properties of the arc can be systematically “tuned” to provide a source suitable for selected-energy-epitaxy.

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The research described in this paper was performed by the Center for Space Microelectronics Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, and was jointly sponsored by the Office of Naval Research and the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization / Innovative Science and Technology Office through an agreement with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).We would also like to acknowledge the support by E.P. Fortier for the fabrication of many of the UHV arcjet components.

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Correspondence to R.N. Bicknell-Tassius.

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Bicknell-Tassius, R., Deelman, P., Grunthaner, P. et al. Design and Characterization of a UHV Arcjet Nitrogen Source. MRS Online Proceedings Library 482, 393–398 (1997).

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