Skip to Main Content
The stress-induced leakage current (SILC) in nFETs with SiO2/HfO2/TiN dual-dielectric gate stacks with metal electrodes is studied during positive-bias temperature stress at high temperatures and at high gate stress voltage. It is shown that strong defect creation in the HfO2 causes a linear increase of the SILC with stress time. The SILC generation is found to be thermally activated with an activation energy, Ea ~ 1 eV. In addition, the SILC formation exhibits a strong correlation with the threshold voltage (Vt) instability DeltaIg/Ig ~ dVt 3. Both degradation phenomena show a strong hysteretic behavior with gate bias; the SILC and Vt-degradation are observed to be substantially reduced by applying a negative gate bias after stress. All these observations may be rationalized in terms of charge trapping in shallow HfO2 defects -such as oxygen vacancy - and by the generation of new shallow defects during stress. The defect generation process has a low activation energy, likely because of thin-film effects. Therefore, the SILC and the Vt instability are large under accelerated TDDB test conditions. It is also shown that the observed low activation energy in combination with the reversibility of the SILC has important implications for dielectric breakdown detection in dual-dielectric gate stacks.
Reliability Physics Symposium, 2009 IEEE International
Date of Conference: 26-30 April 2009