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Scaling the gate oxide thickness is one of many process development challenges facing device engineers today. Nitrogen implantation has been used to control gate oxide thickness. By varying the dose of the nitrogen implant, process engineers can have multiple gate oxide thicknesses in the same process. Although it has been observed that nitrogen retards gate oxidation kinetics, the physics of how this occurs is not yet well understood. Since the retardation in oxide growth is due to the diffusion of nitrogen and its subsequent incorporation at the silicon/silicon oxide interface, the study of the diffusion behavior of nitrogen in silicon becomes important. Further, it is also necessary to study how this diffusion behavior impacts oxide growth. Models have been developed to explore these issues. The diffusion model is based on ab initio results and is compared to experimental results at two temperatures. The oxide reduction model is based on the diffusion of nitrogen to the surface. The surface nitrogen is coupled to the surface reaction rate of silicon and oxygen to moderate oxide growth. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.