Ab initio chemical kinetics for SiH2 + Si2H 6 and SiH3 + Si2H5 Reactions and the related unimolecular decomposition of Si3H8 under a-Si/H CVD conditions

P. Raghunath, Ming-Chang Lin*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The kinetics and mechanisms for SiH2 + Si2H 6 and SiH3 + Si2H5 reactions and the related unimolecular decomposition of Si3H8 have been investigated by ab initio molecular orbital theory based on the QCISD(T)/CBS//QCISD/6-311++G(d,p) method in conjunction with quantum statistical variational Rice-Ramsperger-Kassel-Marcus (RRKM) calculations. For the barrierless radical association processes, their variational transition states have been characterized by the CASPT2//CASSCF method. The species involved in the study are known to coexist under CVD conditions. The results show that the association reaction of SiH2 and Si2H6 producing Si3H8 occurs by insertion via its lowest-energy path forming a loose hydrogen-bonding molecular complex with 8.3 kcal/mol binding energy; the reaction is exothermic by 55.0 kcal/mol. The chemically activated Si3H8 adduct can fragment by several paths, producing SiH4 + SiH3SiH (-0.7 kcal/mol), Si(SiH 3)2 + H2 (-1.4 kcal/mol), and SiH 3SiH2SiH + H2 (-1.4 kcal/mol). The predicted enthalpy changes as given agree well with available thermochemical data. Three other decomposition channels of Si3H8 occurring by Si-H or Si-Si breaking were found to be highly endothermic, and the reactions take place without a well-defined barrier. The heats of formation of Si 3H8, SiH2SiH, Si2H4, i-Si3H7, n-Si3H7, Si(SiH 3)2, and SiH3SiH2SiH have been predicted and found to be in close agreement with those available data in the literature. The product branching rate constants for SiH2 + Si 2H6 and SiH3 + Si2H5 reactions and the thermal unimolecular decomposition of Si3H 8 for all low-energy paths have been calculated with multichannel variational RRKM theory covering varying P,T conditions typically employed in PECVD and Cat-CVD processes for hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si/H) film growth. The results were also found to be in good agreement with available kinetic data. Our kinetic results may be employed to model and control very large-area a-Si/H film growth for a new generation of solar cell applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10811-10823
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number42
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2013

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