Hydrocarbon films were prepared by electron cyclotron resonance plasma deposition from different hydrocarbon source gases at varying ion energies. The source gases used were the saturated hydrocarbons CH4, C2H6, C3H8, C4H10 (n- and iso-) and the unsaturated hydrocarbons C2H4 and C2H2 as well as mixtures of these gases with hydrogen. Film deposition was analyzed in situ by real-time ellipsometry, and the resulting films ex situ by ion-beam analysis. On the basis of the large range of deposition parameters investigated, the correlation between hydrocarbon source gas, deposition parameters, and film properties was determined. The film properties are found to be influenced over a wide range not only by the energy of the impinging ions, but also by the choice of source gas. This is in contrast to a widely accepted study where no dependence of the film properties on the source gas was observed, this being ascribed to a “lost-memory effect.” A strong correlation was found between the hydrogen content of the films and the film properties. This strong correlation is explained on the basis of the random-covalent-network model.
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