Oxidation of room temperature silicon (001) surfaces in a hyperthermal atomic oxygen beam

Masahito Tagawa, Tatsuhiko Ema, Hiroshi Kinoshita, Masataka Umeno, Nobuo Ohmae, Timothy K. Minton

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4 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes the oxidation of Si (001) surfaces at room temperature in a hyperthermal atomic oxygen beam. The laser-detonation-type atomic oxygen beam source, originally designed by Physical Sciences Inc., was used in this study. An intense 5 eV atomic oxygen beam with a fluence of 1019 atoms/cm2 oxidized Si surfaces to a depth of 4.5 nm. X-ray photoelectron spectra and Fourier transform infrared spectra indicate that the amount of suboxide is large and intrinsic stress is incorporated at the silicon/oxide interface. This intrinsic stress restricts the diffusivity of atomic oxygen in the oxide film. These results suggest that a silicon dioxide overlayer for protecting materials from atomic oxygen degradation in low Earth orbit must be at least 4.5 nm thick. However, a 3.5-nm-thick film protected the underlying substrate on samples flown on the EOIM-3 flight experiment. This discrepancy can be explained by the emission of Si atoms at the Si/SiO2 interface to the SiO2 film under the extremely high compressive stresses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-229
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Space Agency, (Special Publication) ESA SP
Issue number399
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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