Auger parameter determination of bonding states on thinly oxidized silicon nitride

T. N. Taylor, D. P. Butt, C. G. Pantano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Silicon nitride powders have been thermally oxidized between 700 and 1200°C in a high-parity N2-20% O2 gas environment. The powders were subsequently analyzed by x-ray photoelectron and Auger electron spectroscopies for evidence of oxynitride surface states. Measurements were made on the Si 2p, O 1s, N 1s, C 1s, F 1s and Si KLL transitions, the latter being obtained using bremsstrahlung radiation from the Mg x-ray source. As a function of increasing temperature the data show a clear progression of spectral binding energies and peak shapes that are indicative of more advanced surface oxidation. However, definitive analysis of these data rests on the combined use of both Auger and photoelectron data to define the oxidized surface states for a system that involves two electrically insulating end states: silicon nitride and silicon dioxide. Curve fitting the Si 2p and Si KLL transitions as a function of oxidation, coupled with the use of Auger parameters for the starting silicon nitride and final silicon dioxide, reveals no measurable evidence for an interphase oxynitride in the thin oxide scales of this study where the silicon nitride substrate is detectable. Possible incorrect assignment of oxynitride bonding, from shifted Si 2p states in the carbon referenced spectra, is attributable to band bending as the transition is made from incipient to fully formed silicon dioxide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-143
Number of pages10
JournalSurface and Interface Analysis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Auger parameter determination of bonding states on thinly oxidized silicon nitride'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this