Structure and dielectric properties of HfO2 films prepared by a sol–gel route
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Mono- and multilayer HfO2 sol–gel thin films have been deposited on silicon wafers by dip-coating technique using a solution based on hafnium ethoxide as precursor. The densification/crystallization process was achieved by classical annealing between 400 and 600 °C for 0.5 h (after drying at 100 °C). Systematic TEM studies were performed to observe the evolution of the thin film structure depending on the annealing temperature. The overall density of the films was determined from RBS spectrometry correlated with cross section (XTEM) thickness measurements. After annealing at 450 °C the films are amorphous with a nanoporous structure showing also some incipient crystallization. After annealing at 550 °C the films are totally crystallized. The HfO2 grains grow in colonies having the same crystalline orientation with respect to the film plane, including faceted nanopores. During annealing a nanometric SiO2 layer is formed at the interface with the silicon substrate; the thickness of this layer increases with the annealing temperature. Capacitive measurements allowed determining the value of the dielectric constant as 25 for four layer films, i.e. very close to the value for the bulk material.