Up to this point this text has focused primarily on materials themselves and not how to produce them. A major aspect of materials science is the control of the kinetic and thermodynamic conditions under which materials are produced to yield specific properties. This chapter and the ones that follow describe some of the ways semiconductor electronic materials are created as thin films. For comparison, the most popular method of production of bulk materials was covered in Chapter 4. Bulk wafers are useful as substrates but are impractical for many applications, especially where alloys are needed. In current technology, thin films constitute most of the active and passive layers that are used in electronic devices.

This chapter covers the common features of all vapor phase thin film growth techniques – the processes by which atoms land on surfaces, move about, leave the surface, and how surface atoms go on to produce complete films. As with other chapters in this book, whole texts have been written on the subject so this treatment reviews only the highlights. Following chapters will cover specific classes of processes. Subjects of this chapter and include adsorption, desorption, surface structure and energy and how they are related to surface diffusion and the evolution of morphology, and adhesion.


Step Edge Dangling Bond GaAs Surface Surface Step Sticking Coefficient 
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