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Evolution of leakage paths in HfO2/SiO2 stacked gate dielectrics: A stable direct observation by ultrahigh vacuum conducting atomic force microscopy

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3 Author(s)
Kyuno, K. ; Department of Materials Science, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan ; Kita, K. ; Toriumi, A.

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A conducting atomic force microscopy (C-AFM) in ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) is used to directly observe the evolution of leakage path in HfO2/SiO2 stacked gate dielectrics. Thanks to the UHV environment, reproducible results for both positive and negative tip biases are obtained without material formation on the surface, which has been a problem for atmospheric C-AFM. It is found that the density of leakage spots increases exponentially as a function of tip bias and that it is a large factor for leakage current increase.

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Applied Physics Letters  (Volume:86 ,  Issue: 6 )