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SiO2 thickness determination by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Auger electron spectroscopy, secondary ion mass spectrometry, Rutherford backscattering, transmission electron microscopy, and ellipsometry

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14 Author(s)
Cole, D.A. ; Evans East, 104 Windsor Center, East Windsor, New Jersey 08520 ; Shallenberger, J.R. ; Novak, S.W. ; Moore, R.L.
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As the Rp of ion implants steadily decreases an ever-increasing percentage of the implant species lies in the oxide layer and is, therefore, not electrically active. For this reason, it is important to have analytical techniques capable of accurately measuring the thickness of ultrathin oxide layers. A round-robin study was performed on a series of SiO2 films ranging from 0.3 to 20 nm in order to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of five commonly used analytical techniques. High-resolution cross-section transmission electron microscopy (TEM) offers the only true measurement of oxide thickness because no density assumptions are made. In this study, TEM is used as the standard for all the other techniques. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and Auger electron spectroscopy offer precise measurements for ultrathin (≪3 nm) films, but are limited for thicker films (≫15 nm) due to the exponential decay functions that describe the sampling depth in both techniques. Secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) has historically been used for characterizing relatively thick films (≫10 nm) but not for thinner films because of atomic mixing effects. Encapsulating oxides with amorphous silicon prior to performing a SIMS experiment can negate these effects. A comparison of SIMS on encapsulated and as received films is made. Rutherford backscattering is an excellent technique for determining oxide thickness over a wide thickness range by channeling the Si signal from the crystalline substrate and analyzing oxygen from the amorphous oxide. Ellipsometry, being both rapid and low cost, is one of the most widely used techniques capable of accurate measurements on thick films (≫10 nm). © 2000 American Vacuum Society.

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Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B: Microelectronics and Nanometer Structures  (Volume:18 ,  Issue: 1 )