Control of Interface Nanoscale Structure Created by Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition

Tailoring the structure of films deposited by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) to specific applications requires a depth-resolved understanding of how the interface structures in such films are impacted by variations in deposition parameters such as feed position and plasma power. Analysis of complementary X-ray and neutron reflectivity (XR, NR) data provide a rich picture of changes in structure with feed position and plasma power, with those changes resolved on the nanoscale. For plasma-polymerized octafluorocyclobutane (PP-OFCB) films, a region of distinct chemical composition and lower cross-link density is found at the substrate interface for the range of processing conditions studied and a surface layer of lower cross-link density also appears when plasma power exceeds 40 W. Varying the distance of the feed from the plasma impacts the degree of cross-linking in the film center, thickness of the surface layer, and thickness of the transition region at the substrate. Deposition at the highest power, 65 W, both enhances cross-linking and creates loose fragments with fluorine content higher than the average. The thickness of the low cross-link density region at the air interface plays an important role in determining the width of the interface built with a layer subsequently deposited atop the first.