Interactions of moisture and organic contaminants with SiO 2 and ZrO 2 gate dielectric films

Niraj Rana, Prashant Raghu, Eric Shero, Farhang Shadman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Zirconium oxide (ZrO 2 ) is a promising candidate for future high-k gate dielectric applications. Atmospheric molecular contaminants may impact the quality and performance of zirconium oxide thin films. The interaction of moisture and organics (in particular IPA) as common interfacial contaminants with a 5nm ZrO 2 film deposited by ALCVD™ is investigated using atmospheric pressure ionization mass spectrometry (APIMS); the kinetics and mechanism are compared to that of silicon oxide (SiO 2 ). The ZrO 2 surface was found to have a higher affinity for moisture and IPA than SiO 2 . Under similar conditions, the amounts of moisture and IPA adsorbed on ZrO 2 were comparatively greater and more temperature sensitive than on SiO 2 . ZrO 2 films also retained a significant amount of moisture that could prove detrimental during subsequent thermal processing. At high temperatures, ZrO 2 was found to catalyze decomposition of IPA. IPA adsorption on SiO 2 was increased by pre-adsorbed moisture and it led to the formation of alkoxy groups at elevated temperatures. On the other hand, adsorption on ZrO 2 was site limited; consequently, less IPA was adsorbed in presence of pre-adsorbed moisture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-175
Number of pages16
JournalApplied Surface Science
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Jan 31 2002


  • Adsorption
  • Chemisorption
  • Desorption
  • Gate dielectrics
  • Isopropanol
  • Kinetics
  • Moisture
  • Silicon oxide
  • Zirconium oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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