Approaching Defect-free Amorphous Silicon Nitride by Plasma-Assisted Atomic Beam Deposition for High Performance Gate Dielectric

Shu Ju Tsai, Chiang Lun Wang, Hung Chun Lee, Chun Yeh Lin, Jhih Wei Chen, Hong Wei Shiu, Lo Yueh Chang, Han Ting Hsueh, Hung Ying Chen, Jyun Yu Tsai, Ying Hsin Lu, Ting Chang Chang, Li Wei Tu, Hsisheng Teng, Yi Chun Chen, Chia Hao Chen, Chung Lin Wu

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16 Citations (Scopus)


In the past few decades, gate insulators with a high dielectric constant (high-k dielectric) enabling a physically thick but dielectrically thin insulating layer, have been used to replace traditional SiO x insulator and to ensure continuous downscaling of Si-based transistor technology. However, due to the non-silicon derivative natures of the high-k metal oxides, transport properties in these dielectrics are still limited by various structural defects on the hetero-interfaces and inside the dielectrics. Here, we show that another insulating silicon compound, amorphous silicon nitride (a-Si 3 N 4), is a promising candidate of effective electrical insulator for use as a high-k dielectric. We have examined a-Si 3 N 4 deposited using the plasma-Assisted atomic beam deposition (PA-ABD) technique in an ultra-high vacuum (UHV) environment and demonstrated the absence of defect-related luminescence; it was also found that the electronic structure across the a-Si 3 N 4 /Si heterojunction approaches the intrinsic limit, which exhibits large band gap energy and valence band offset. We demonstrate that charge transport properties in the metal/a-Si 3 N 4 /Si (MNS) structures approach defect-free limits with a large breakdown field and a low leakage current. Using PA-ABD, our results suggest a general strategy to markedly improve the performance of gate dielectric using a nearly defect-free insulator.

Original languageEnglish
Article number28326
JournalScientific reports
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun 21

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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