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Ultrathin gate oxide reliability: physical models, statistics, and characterization

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1 Author(s)
Suehle, J.S. ; Div. of Semicond. Electron., Nat. Inst. of Stand. & Technol., Gaithersburg, MD, USA

The present understanding of wear-out and breakdown in ultrathin (tox < 5.0 nm) SiO2 gate dielectric films and issues relating to reliability projection are reviewed in this article. Recent evidence supporting a voltage-driven model for defect generation and breakdown, where energetic tunneling electrons induce defect generation and breakdown will be discussed. The concept of a critical number of defects required to cause breakdown and percolation theory will be used to describe the observed statistical failure distributions for ultrathin gate dielectric breakdown. Recent observations of a voltage dependent voltage acceleration parameter and non-Arrhenius temperature dependence will be presented. The current understanding of soft breakdown will be discussed and proposed techniques for detecting breakdown presented. Finally, the implications of soft breakdown on circuit functionality and the applicability of applying current reliability characterization and analysis techniques to project the reliability of future alternative gate dielectrics will be discussed

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Electron Devices, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:49 ,  Issue: 6 )