Thin films of metastable SiCAlN solid solution were deposited on Si(111) substrates at 550-750 °C, considerably below the miscibility gap of SiC and AlN phases at 1900 °C. Our low-temperature growth was based upon thermally activated reactions between a unimolecular precursor H3SiCN and Al atoms from an evaporative cell in a molecular-beam-epitaxy chamber. Characterization of deposited films by spectroscopic and microscopic techniques yielded near-stoichiometric composition throughout the columnar wurtzite structure with lattice parameters very close to those of 2H-SiC and hexagonal AlN. An average hardness of 25 GPa was measured for the SiCAlN films, comparable to that measured for sapphire.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)