Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has been used for tribological studies of Si surfaces covered by oxide layers of various kinds: chemical oxides prepared by the SC1 (NH4OH/H2O2/H2O) and the SC2 (HCl/H2O2/H2O) treatments and a thermal oxide. In the case of the SC1 chemical oxide, the oxide layer was scratched and the underlying Si substrate was ploughed by the Si3N4 AFM tip. On the other hand, no wear of the sample was noted on the other surfaces: the AFM often produced elevated patterns in the shape of the scanned area, which were no longer visible after HF etching. By annealing the SC1-treated surface in N2 gas at above 200°C for 30min, the oxide layer could not be scratched any more. By soaking the thermal oxide in KOH, the oxide layer was then scratched. It is concluded that the presence of OH bases is the necessary condition for the nano-scratching of the oxide layers.
- Silicon oxide
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics