Susceptibility of SiO2, ZrO2, and HfO2 dielectrics to moisture contamination

Prashant Raghu, Chris Yim, Farhang Shadman, Eric Shero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Moisture contamination of HfO2 and ZrO2 ultrathin dielectric films, deposited by atomic layer chemical vapor deposition (ALCVD™), is investigated and compared to that of native SiO2. Results show that HfO2 and ZrO2 surfaces adsorb higher amounts of moisture and bind moisture more strongly than SiO2 surfaces. A multilayer model is developed to represent the dynamics of moisture interaction with these three oxides. Using this model, the fundamental kinetic parameters are determined. The adsorption rate constants are of the same order of magnitude for all three surfaces. However, the desorption rate constants for ZrO2 and HfO2 are almost three orders of magnitude lower than that for SiO2. Activation energies for desorption of water molecules from the first two layers are 33, 27, and 19 kJ/mol, for ZrO 2, HfO2, and SiO2, respectively. Results obtained in this study suggest that the HfO2 and ZrO2, as the new dielectric materials, are more prone to moisture contamination than SiO2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1881-1888
Number of pages8
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2004


  • Adsorption
  • Hafnium dioxide
  • Moisture
  • Outgassing
  • Zirconium dioxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Engineering
  • General Chemical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Susceptibility of SiO2, ZrO2, and HfO2 dielectrics to moisture contamination'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this