, Volume 96, Issue 1, pp 161-169
Date: 11 Dec 2008

Imaging and spectroscopy of defects in semiconductors using aberration-corrected STEM

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Abstract

The distribution of single dopant or impurity atoms can dramatically alter the properties of semiconductor materials. The sensitivity to detect and localize such single atoms has been greatly improved by the development of aberration correctors for scanning transmission electron microscopes. Today, electron probes with diameters well below 1 Å are available thanks to the improved electron optics. Simultaneous acquisition of image signals and electron energy-loss spectroscopy data provides means of characterization of defect structures in semiconductors with unprecedented detail. In addition to an improvement of the lateral spatial resolution, depth sensitivity is greatly enhanced because of the availability of larger probe forming angles. We report the characterization of an alternate gate dielectric interface structure. Isolated Hf atoms are directly imaged within a SiO2 thin film formed between an HfO2 layer and the silicon substrate. Electron energy-loss spectroscopy shows significant changes of the silicon valence state across the interface structure.