Published for the Society by the American Institute of Physics
Journal of vacuum science & technology b vol:20 issue:4 pages:1720-1725
An electron spin resonance study has been carried out on (100)Si/SiOx/ZrO2 and (100)Si/Al2O3/ZrO2 stacks with nm-thin dielectric layers. grown by the atomic layer chemical vapor deposition method at 300 degreesC. This reveals the Si dangling bond type centers P-b0, P-b1 as prominent defects at the (100)Si/dielectric interface in both types of structures. While reassuring for the Si/SiOx/ZrO2 case, this P-b0, P-b1 fingerprint, archetypal for the thermal (100)Si/SiO2 interface, indicates that the as-deposited (100)Si/Al2O3 interface is basically (100)Si/SiO2-like. Yet, as exposed by the salient spectroscopic properties of the P-b0, P-b1 defects, the interfaces are found to be in an enhanced (less relaxed) stress state, generally characteristic of low-temperature Si/SiO2 fabrication. The thermal behavior has been addressed by subjecting the sample stacks to heat treatments in vacuum or O-2 ambient. Based on the P-b0, P-b1 criterion, it is found that standard thermal Si/SiO2 interface properties may be approached by appropriate annealing (greater than or equal to650degreesC) in vacuum in the case of Si/SiOx/ZrO2. Yet, O-2 ambient is required for Si/Al2O3, indicating that the initial interface is too abrupt to enable thermal interfacial rearrangement without growth of an additional SiOx interlayer. A minimal SiOx interlayer thickness (0.5 nm) appears requisite. Thus, Si/high-kappa metal oxide structures may be endowed with device quality interfaces with sub-nm thin SiOx interlayer, which may support the applicability of high-kappa metal oxides. Obviously, though, the (inherent) occurrence of an SiOx interlayer will impair the minimal equivalent SiO2 thickness that may ultimately be realized with an envisioned high-kappa material. (C) 2002 American Vacuum Society.