Image Number 5 for United States Patent #7056835.
Methods are provided herein for treating substrate surfaces in preparation for subsequent nucleation-sensitive depositions (e.g., polysilicon or poly-SiGe) and adsorption-driven deposition (e.g. atomic layer deposition or ALD). Prior to depositing, the surface is treated with non-depositing plasma products. The treated surface more readily nucleates polysilicon and poly-SiGe (such as for a gate electrode), or more readily adsorbs ALD reactants (such as for a gate dielectric). The surface treatment provides surface moieties more readily susceptible to a subsequent deposition reaction, or more readily susceptible to further surface treatment prior to deposition. By changing the surface termination of the substrate with a low temperature radical treatment, subsequent deposition is advantageously facilitated without depositing a layer of any appreciable thickness and without significantly affecting the bulk properties of the underlying material. Preferably less than 10 .ANG. of the bulk material incorporates the excited species, which can include fluorine, chlorine and particularly nitrogen excited species.