Atomic transport and chemical stability of nitrogen in ultrathin HfSiON gate dielectrics
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HfSiO and HfSiON films with thicknesses compatible with the requirements for gate dielectrics alternatives to SiO2 in ultra-large scale integration silicon-based CMOSFET devices were deposited on an ultrathin HfSiO15N interfacial layer on Si(001). These structures were submitted to thermal processing routines typical of post-deposition annealing and dopant activation steps in fabrication technology, namely at 450 or 1000 °C, respectively, and in atmospheres of N2 and/or O2. N transport and loss were determined by nuclear reaction analysis, including sub-nanometric depth resolution profiling with narrow nuclear reaction resonances. The chemical states of N were accessed by angle-resolved X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. After annealing at 450 °C, N is seen to be mobile, whereas the chemical environment of N is not changed at this temperature. Annealing at 1000 °C renders N mobile and its most abundant chemical state in near-surface regions is unstable. Annealing in O2 atmosphere promotes incorporation of O from the gas phase into the films, partly in exchange for N and O atoms and partly by net incorporation of oxygen in the films. The profiles of the newly incorporated O atoms are also determined with sub-nanometric depth resolution by narrow nuclear reaction resonance profiling.
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