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Junctions shallower than 100 nm, obtained by ion implantation and excimer laser annealing, have been characterized in two dimensions by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) on chemically treated samples. The chemical treatment selectively removes silicon as a function of the B concentration, making thinner the regions where B is present in the cross section of the sample, with respect to the n-type substrate. Both secondary ion mass spectrometry and spreading resistance profiling measurements have been performed, in order to quantify the contour line obtained by TEM in terms of B concentration. The results achieved by the two-dimensional technique show interesting features, related to the particular redistribution of B occurring when silicon is melted by excimer laser annealing irradiation. In particular, a rectangular shape of the doped region obtained by laser annealing could be evidenced, caused by the fast diffusion in the melted material, completely different from the typical half-moon-shaped, thermally annealed, two-dimensional B profile. The feasibility of ultrashallow junctions by laser annealing, with depths below 100 nm and high electrical activation, is demonstrated. However, a huge lateral diffusion in the melted silicon is also to be taken into account when considering excimer laser treatments as an alternative to standard rapid thermal annealing. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.