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Quantitative Analysis of X-ray Fluorescence Absorption and Emission for Thickness Determination of ALD-Grown Metal and Oxide Nanoscaled Films

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This study describes the use of X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) to determine the thickness of nanoscaled thin films of insulating oxides such as Al2O3, HfO2, and ZrO2, semiconducting oxides such as TiO2, ZnO, and metals like Pt, on silicon substrates synthesized by atomic layer deposition (ALD) technology. XRF thickness measurements were compared with the predicted layer thickness based on calculations from known ALD growth rates for each metal or metal oxide films. The ALD growth rates have been calibrated with TEM cross-sectional measurements of the resulting film thickness. The results showed good agreement between the two methods, indicating the XRF technique was successful. Quantitative XRF spectroscopy employing XRF absorption and emission line analysis has been demonstrated to be a powerful non-destructive tool for thickness determination of deposited high-k transition metal oxides and other technologically important nano-scaled thin films like Pt and other metal contacts and reveals new untapped application potential for XRF.
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Keywords: ALD; Atomic Layer Deposition; Nanoscale; Non-Destructive; Thickness Determination; Thin Films; X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy; XRF

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Applied Research Center Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility and Department of Molecular Biology and Chemistry at Christopher Newport University, Newport News, Virginia 23606, United States 2: Bruker AXS, Inc., Madison, WI, 53711, United States 3: ODU-Applied Research Center, Newport News, VA, and Department of Electrical Engineering, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia 23529, United States

Publication date: August 1, 2017

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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