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This study aims to improve the electrical characteristics and reliability of low-pressure chemical vapor deposited (LPCVD) tantalum pentoxide (Ta/sub 2/O/sub 5/) films by a new post-deposition annealing technique using high-density plasma (HDP). Experimental results indicate that excited oxygen atoms generated by N/sub 2/O decomposition from HDP annealing can effectively reduce the carbon and hydrogen impurity concentrations and repair the oxygen vacancies in the as-deposited CVD Ta/sub 2/O/sub 5/ film, thereby resulting in a remarkable reduction of the film's leakage current. Two other post-deposition annealing conditions are compared: HDP O/sub 2/ annealing and conventional plasma O/sub 2/ annealing. The comparison reveals that HDP N/sub 2/O annealing has the lowest leakage current and superior time-dependent dielectric breakdown (TDDB) reliability.