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The scaling of electrical oxide thickness to 1.0 nm and below for advanced silicon devices requires a change from thermally grown oxides and nitrided oxides to deposited dielectrics which have dielectric constants, k, significantly greater than that of silicon dioxide, k0∼3.8. Implementation of the higher-k dielectrics into field effect transistor devices requires a processing protocol that provides separate and independent control over the properties of the Si–dielectric interface and the bulk dielectric film. Experiments to date have shown that plasma-grown nitrided oxides, ∼0.5–0.6 nm thick, satisfy this requirement. This paper addresses chemical bonding issues at the Si–dielectric interface and at the internal dielectric interface between the plasma-grown nitrided oxides and the high-k alternative dielectrics by applying constraint theory. Si–SiO2 is a prototypical interface between a “rigid” Si substrate and a “floppy” network dielectric, SiO2, and the interfacial properties are modified by a monolayer-scale transition region with excess suboxide bonding over what is required for an ideal interface. Additionally, the defect properties at the internal interface between a nitrided SiO2 interface layer and a bulk dielectric film reflect differences in the average number of bonds/atom, Nav, of the dielectrics on either side of that interface. Experimentally determined interfacial defect concentrations are shown to scale quadratically with increasing differences in Nav thereby establishing a fundamental basis for limitations on device performance and reliability.© 2000 Americ- - an Vacuum Society.
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