The effect of metallic impurities on the dielectric breakdown of oxides and some new ways of avoiding them

S. Verhaverbeke, M. Meuris, P. W. Mertens, M. M. Heyns, Ara Philipossian, D. Graf, A. Schnegg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

50 Scopus citations


The effect of metallic contamination on the dielectric breakdown of thermal oxide layers is investigated. Wafers were intentionally contaminated with Ca, Zn, Fe, Cu or Al. The oxidation behavior of the contaminants and their effect on the Si surface roughness were investigated and correlated with the oxide breakdown properties. It was observed that Ca interacts strongly with the Si substrate during ramp-up. This results in a large increase in the Si surface roughness and poor breakdown properties of the thermal oxide layer. Fe degrades the oxide integrity by the formation of defect spots during the oxidation and Al induces damage under the SiO2/poly-Si interface. Metals such as Cu and Zn diffuse easily in the Si substrate and, consequently, do not have a large impact on the oxide quality. Standard grade chemicals are the main source for the metallic impurities. After switching to ultrapure chemicals, the DI-water distribution system becomes the limiting factor. Some techniques to reduce the contamination and Si-surface roughening are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Electron Devices Meeting 1991, IEDM 1991
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)0780302435
StatePublished - 1991
EventInternational Electron Devices Meeting, IEDM 1991 - Washington, United States
Duration: Dec 8 1991Dec 11 1991

Publication series

NameTechnical Digest - International Electron Devices Meeting, IEDM
ISSN (Print)0163-1918


OtherInternational Electron Devices Meeting, IEDM 1991
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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