Hourdakis, E., Nassiopoulou, A. G., Parisini, A., Reading, M. A., Van den Berg, Jakob, Sygellou, L., Ladas, S., Petrik, P., Nutsch, A., Wolf, M. and Roeder, G. (2011) Electrical and structural properties of ultrathin SiON films on Si prepared by plasma nitridation. Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B: Microelectronics and Nanometer Structures, 29 (2). 022201. ISSN 1071-1023

The authors combined electrical and structural characterizations with analytical and spectroscopic measurements in order to fully analyze oxynitride nanofilms on Si that were produced in a minibatch type plasma nitridation reactor. The authors demonstrate that for the investigated samples the result of nitridation is different in the 2-nm-thick SiO2 films compared to the 5-nm-thick films. In the first case, nitridation results in an increase of the oxide film thickness compared to the non-nitrided film, with a consequent decrease in leakage current and an increase in the electrically measured equivalent oxide thickness (EOT). In contrast, nitridation of the 5-nm-thick SiO2 films leads to a reduction of both the leakage current and EOT. Finally, the authors demonstrate that the applied nitridation process results in the desired nitrogen profile with high nitrogen concentration near the top surface or the middle of the SiON film and low nitrogen concentration near the SiON/Si interface, which leads to a relatively low density of interface states at the SiON/Si interface ( ∼ 1011 states/cm2) for nonannealed films.

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