Effect of germanium concentration and tunnel oxide thickness on nanocrystal formation and charge storage/retention characteristics of a trilayer memory structure

Ho, V.; Teo, L.W.; Choi, W.K.; Chim, W.K.; Tay, M.S.; Antoniadis, D.A.; Fitzgerald, E.A.; Du, A.Y.; Tung, C.H.; Liu, R.; Wee, A.T.S.
October 2003
Applied Physics Letters;10/27/2003, Vol. 83 Issue 17, p3558
Academic Journal
The effect of germanium concentration and the rapid thermal oxide (RTO) layer thickness on the nanocrystal formation and charge storage/retention capability of a trilayer metal–insulator–semiconductor device was studied. We found that the RTO and the capping oxide layers were not totally effective in confining the Ge nanocrystals in the middle layer when a pure Ge middle layer was used for the formation of nanocrystals. From the transmission electron microscopy and secondary ion mass spectroscopy results, a significant diffusion of Ge atoms through the RTO and into the silicon substrate was observed when the RTO layer thickness was reduced to 2.5 nm. This resulted in no (or very few) nanocrystals formed in the system. For devices with a Ge+SiO[sub 2] cosputtered middle layer (i.e., lower Ge concentration), even though a higher charge storage capability was obtained from devices with a thinner RTO layer, the charge retention capability was poorer as compared to devices with a thicker RTO layer. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.


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