Crystallization kinetics and microstructure-dependent leakage current behavior of ultrathin HfO[sub 2] dielectrics: In situ annealing studies

Kim, Hyoungsub; Marshall, Ann; McIntyre, Paul C.; Saraswat, Krishna C.
March 2004
Applied Physics Letters;3/22/2004, Vol. 84 Issue 12, p2064
Academic Journal
The crystallization kinetics of ∼3 nm HfO[sub 2] films grown by atomic layer deposition (ALD) on SiO[sub 2]-passivated Si (100) wafers were investigated using an in situ transmission electron microscope (TEM) with heating capability. Through gray-scale analysis of dark-field TEM images, it was found that a two-dimensional nucleation and growth mechanism with a decreasing of nucleation rate could account for the observed transformation rate behavior. The effects of crystalline defects (e.g., grain boundaries) on the leakage current were studied using a reduced pressure in situ postdeposition anneal in the ALD system to avoid interfacial SiO[sub 2] growth. The leakage current magnitude and temperature dependence were found to be essentially independent of the microstructural changes that accompany crystallization of the HfO[sub 2] films. © 2004 American Institute of Physics.


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