In this work, 4H-SiC epilayers are performed on 4° off-axis substrates under low pressure condition by horizontal hot wall chemical vapor deposition (HWCVD) with a standard chemistry of silane-propane-hydrogen, which focuses on the effects of growth pressure on morphology, basal plane dislocations (BPDs) and crystalline quality. It is found that morphological defects reduce with the decreasing of growth pressure, since the surface diffusion length of absorbed adatoms increases under low growth pressure, which suppresses the nucleation of adatoms on terraces and the formation of morphological defects. However, as the surface diffusion length increases under low growth pressure, the difference of growth velocity at steps is enhanced, which leads to the extension of the steps’ width and the formation of step-bunching. Besides variation of surface diffusion length, the phenomenon described above can be correlated with different dominate modes for the minimization of surface energy at varied growth pressure. Because of the contrary influence of increased C/Si ratio and enhanced step-flow growth on the propagation of BPDs, the dislocation densities of BPDs and threading edge dislocations (TEDs) in epilayers grown at varied pressures remain basically unchanged. The crystalline quality is almost independent of growth pressure based on high resolution X-ray diffraction (HRXRD) measurements.
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