Mechanism of nucleation and growth of cubic boron nitride thin films

D. V. Shtansky, Y. Yamada-Takamura, T. Yoshida, Y. Ikuhara

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    25 Citations (Scopus)


    The mechanism and the crystallography of the nucleation and growth of cubic boron nitride (c-BN) films deposited on 〈100〉-oriented silicon substrate by RF bias sputtering have been studied by means of cross-sectional high-resolution transmission electron microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Both methods provide experimental information showing no sp2-bonded BN layer formation in the subsurface region of c-BN phase. This is clear evidence for layer-by-layer homoepitaxial growth of cubic boron nitride without graphitic monolayers in the near-surface region of the film. The turbostratic boron nitride (t-BN) consists of thin sub-layers, 0.5-2 nm thick, growing in such a way that a sub-layer normal is almost parallel to the growth direction. t-BN also comprises a large volume fraction of the grain boundaries with high interface energies. The present result and the finding by Shtansky et al. [Acta Mater. 48, 3745 (2000)], who showed that an individual sub-layer consists of parallel lamellae in both the hexagonal (h-BN) and rhombohedral (r-BN) configurations, demonstrate that high intrinsic stress in the films is due to the complex structure of sp2-bonded BN. The crystallography of c-BN films indicates heteroepitaxial nucleation of cubic phase on the graphitic BN structural precursor. The present results are consistent with stress-induced c-BN formation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)219-225
    Number of pages7
    JournalScience and Technology of Advanced Materials
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2000 Dec


    • Cubic boron nitride films
    • Growth models
    • Turbostratic boron nitride

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Materials Science(all)


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