Characterization of high-k layers as the gate dielectric for MOSFETs
As the gate oxide thickness of the Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor (MOSFET) is continuously scaled down with lateral device dimensions, the gate leakage current during operation increases exponentially. This increase in leakage current raises concerns regarding power consumption and device reliability. Alternative dielectrics with higher dielectric constant (high-k) than that of Si02 have been searched. High-k layers allow the use of physically thicker gate dielectrics, so that the gate leakage current is controlled. The intensive world-wide research has identified the Hf-dielectric as the lead candidate for future CMOS technologies. However, the commercial application of Hf-dielectrics as the gate oxide has been held back by a number of issues, including process integration, low carrier mobility, and high instability. This project focuses on characterizing the defect responsible for the instability of Hf-dielectrics. The thesis consists of six chapters. After an introduction in Chapter 1, the characterization techniques used are described in Chapter 2. Two main contributions are: setting up the pulse transfer characteristic technique and developing a newly improved charge pumping technique called Variable T charged is charge Pumping (VT2CP). The research results are presented in Chapters 3,4 and 5. Chapter 3 characterizes a s-grown electron traps in HfO2/SiO2s tacks. The issues addressed include the impact of measurement technique on electron trapping, contribution of different current components to trapping, trap location, and the capture cross section and trapping kinetics. It is shown that the use of pulse transfer characteristic technique is essential for measuring electron trapping, since the traditional quasi-dc transfer characteristic is too IV ABSTRACT slow and the loss of charges is significant. The trap assisted tunneling and the thermally enhanced conduction contributes little to trapping. The trapping does not pile up at the interfaces and the region near to one or both ends of Hf02 has little trapping, when compared with the trapping in the bulk. To evaluate the electron fluency through the gate stack, efforts are made to estimate the trapping-induced transient gate current through simulation. This allows the determination of two capture cross sections: one in the order of 10-14cma2n d the other in the order of 10-16cm2. Chapter 4 concentrates on the characterization of generated electron traps and the time dependent dielectric breakdown (TDDB). Amplitude charge pumping and frequency sweep charge pumping are used to investigate the impact of gate electrodes and channel length on charging and discharging of the bulk defects. As channel length increases,it is found that bulk trapping increases and TDDB time shortens. Efforts are made to show that there is a quantitative correlation between the trapping and TDDB data. The newly improved VTZCP is used to separate trapping in the interfacial Si02 from that in Hf02. The results show that new traps are generated in both layers and the generation follows a power law with similar power factors. Investigation is also carried out to assess the dependence of trap generation on process and deposition conditions. Finally, it is found that Hf-dielectric with metal gate always suffers hard-breakdown. In Chapter 5, attention is turned to positive charging in Hf-dielectric. It is shown that the use of metal gate enhances the positive charging, when stressed under a positive gate bias. This is explained by assuming that there is a large number of hydrogenous species within the metal gate or at its interface with gate dielectric. Two types of threshold voltage instabilities have been identified for pMOSFETs. The first one results in a loop in the transfer characteristics when a pulse is applied to the gate. The second one is caused by the generation of new positive charge. Both are enhanced by V ABSTRACT nitridation. For sub-2nm Hf-dielectric, the threshold voltage instability of pMOSFETs can be more severe than that of nMOSFETs and it can be a limiting factor for the operation voltage. Finally, the project is summarized in Chapter 6 and the future work is discussed.