Jump to main content
Jump to site search
Access to RSC content Close the message box

Continue to access RSC content when you are not at your institution. Follow our step-by-step guide.

Rapid identification of ultrathin amorphous damage on monocrystalline silicon surface


Amorphous silicon (a-Si) remains a common surface damage during ultra-precision machining of monocrystalline Si. However, it was difficult to identify the amorphous damage with several nanometers by traditional detection methods, which hinders severely performance improvement of Si-based products. In this study, ultrathin a-Si was found to act as a mask against etching in HF/HNO3 mixtures, resulting in forming protrusive hillocks. Reciprocating sliding on an atomic force microscope (AFM) was employed for simulating material removal event in surface manufacturing. Effects of normal load, etching time and etchant concentration on selective etching were investigated to optimize parameters for amorphous damage detection. The mechanism for the selective etching were further addressed based on high-resolution transmission electron microscope (HRTEM) detection, as well as comparative etching of surface structures with different crystal damages or Si oxide. Further analysis demonstrated that lower dangling bond density of a-Si can result in the reduction of dissolution rate, while deformed Si lattices, including stacking faults, dislocations and microcracks, can facilitate rapid selective etching. By the proposed selective etching, ultrathin amorphous damage and its spatial distributions can be identified rapidly with high resolution and low destruction. This study sheds a new light on achieving high-quality Si surface in ultra-precision machining.

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Article information

11 Mar 2020
15 May 2020
First published
16 May 2020

Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2020, Accepted Manuscript
Article type

Rapid identification of ultrathin amorphous damage on monocrystalline silicon surface

L. Wu, B. Yu, P. Zhang, C. Feng, P. Chen, L. Deng, J. Gao, S. Chen, S. Jiang and L. Qian, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2020, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/D0CP01370F

Social activity

Search articles by author