Mechanistic study of surface contamination of dielectric oxides using isotope labeling

Prashant Raghu, Chris Yim, Asad Iqbal, Farhang Shadman, Eric Shero, Mohith Verghese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Surface molecular contamination of gate dielectrics in metal oxide semiconductor structures is a problem affecting the performance of integrated circuits. The impact depends strongly on the nature of the interactions between the contaminants and the dielectric surfaces. The mechanism of interactions of moisture and isopropyl alcohol (IPA) with SiO2 and ZrO2 films was studied using isotope labeling with deuterium oxide (D2O). The results revealed that H2O adsorbs in a random multilayer configuration with three distinct types of interactions (hydroxylation of oxide in the first layer, MOH-H2O interactions in the second layer, and nondissociative H2O-H2O interactions in the higher layers). On the basis of these findings, a multilayer multicomponent adsorption/desorption model was developed that agrees well with the experimental data. The adsorption of IPA also follows multilayer dynamics. The interaction with the bare dielectric surface is nondissociative and relatively weak. However, IPA chemisorbs on a hydroxylated oxide. The isotope labeling studies revealed an exchange mechanism in which IPA undergoes an esterification reaction with chemisorbed H2O.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2977-2985
Number of pages9
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 9 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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