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Home > News > Surface cleaning procedures for thin films of indium gallium nitride grown on sapphire
Surface cleaning procedures for thin films of indium gallium nitride grown on sapphire
Surface preparation procedures for indium gallium nitride (InGaN) thin films were analyzed for their effectiveness for carbon and oxide removal as well as for the resulting surface roughness. Aqua regia (3:1 mixture of concentrated hydrochloric acid and concentrated nitric acid, AR), hydrofluoric acid (HF), hydrochloric acid (HCl), piranha solution (1:1 mixture of sulfuric acid and 30% H2O2) and 1:9 ammonium sulfide:tert-butanol were all used along with high temperature anneals to remove surface contamination. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) were utilized to study the extent of surface contamination and surface roughness, respectively. The ammonium sulfide treatment provided the best overall removal of oxygen and carbon. Annealing over 700 °C after a treatment showed an even further improvement in surface contamination removal. The piranha treatment resulted in the lowest residual carbon, while the ammonium sulfide treatment leads to the lowest residual oxygen. AFM data showed that all the treatments decreased the surface roughness (with respect to as-grown specimens) with HCl, HF, (NH4)2S and RCA procedures giving the best RMS values (0.5–0.8 nm).
 
Fig. 1. 2 μm × 2 μm image of an untreated InGaN film.
 
Source: Applied Surface Science
 
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