A computational study on the adsorption configurations and reactions of SiH x (x = 1-4) on clean and H-covered Si(100) surfaces

Thong N.M. Le, P. Raghunath, Lam K. Huynh*, Ming-Chang Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Possible adsorption configurations of H and SiH x (x = 1 − 4) on clean and H-covered Si(100) surfaces are determined by using spin-polarized DFT calculations. The results show that, on the clean surface, the gas-phase hydrogen atom and SiH 3 radicals effectively adsorb on the top sites, while SiH and SiH 2 prefer the bridge sites of the first layer. Another possibility for SiH is to reside on the hollow sites with a triple-bond configuration. For a partially H-coverd Si(100) surface, the mechanism is similar but with higher adsorption energies in most cases. This suggests that the surface species become more stable in the presence of surface hydrogens. The minimum energy paths for the adsorption/migration and reactions of H/SiH x species on the surfaces are explored using the climbing image-nudged elastic band method. The competitive surface processes for Si thin-film formation from SiH x precursors are also predicted. The study reveals that the migration of hydrogen adatom is unimportant with respect to leaving open surface sites because of its high barriers (>29.0 kcal/mol). Alternatively, the abstraction of hydrogen adatoms by H/SiH x radicals is more favorable. Moreover, the removal of hydrogen atoms from adsorbed SiH x , an essential step for forming Si layers, is dominated by abstraction rather than the decomposition processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-556
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Surface Science
StatePublished - 30 Nov 2016


  • Hydrogen abstractions
  • Plasma enhanced
  • Si(100)
  • Silane precursor
  • Silicon surfaces

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