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This paper describes a novel surface-oxidized barrier-SiN cell technology to effect a tenfold improvement in endurance and read disturb characteristics. In conventional memory cells, degradation of tunnel oxides due to barrier-SiN films for Self-Aligned Contact (SAC) limits the scaling of memory cells. The proposed technology overcomes this problem by an additional oxidation process subsequent to barrier-SiN deposition to reduce hydrogen in both SiN film and tunnel oxide. 0.18 /spl mu/m-rule NAND cells fabricated by the proposed technology demonstrate a tenfold improvement in allowable program/erase cycles and read disturb lifetime without any deterioration of other cell properties.