Dielectric/Si Interface Quality Characterization Using Room Temperature Photoluminescence
Physical dimensions of dielectric layer(s) are typically measured using ellipsometry and high resolution cross-section transmission microscopy (HRXTEM). Electrical characteristics are typically characterized using either contact or non-contact C-V and I-V measurements tools. Non-contact characterization techniques are generally preferred for in-line monitoring applications. However, spatial resolution of non-contact C-V and I-V measurement techniques is in the range of a few millimeters, which are 3 orders of magnitude larger than typical dimensions of actual devices. High spatial resolution, non-contact dielectric/Si interface quality characterization techniques must be developed.
In this paper, ultra thin (~7 nm) SiO2/Si and ultra thin SiN/SiO2/Si wafers were prepared by low pressure thermal chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and thermal oxidation. Dielectric/Si interface quality was characterized by room temperature spectroscopic photoluminescence (PL) measurements. The PL intensity and spectra from Si were measured under different excitation wavelengths which have different probing depths. PL is an optical characterization technique which does not require any sample preparation and physical contact. Typical spatial resolution is in the range of a few microns. Small variations in dielectric/Si interface quality modulates electronic carrier behaviors significantly which results in large variations in PL intensity and spectra.
Significant variations in PL intensity and spectra were measured from ultra thin (~7 nm) SiO2/Si wafers prepared by and low pressure thermal CVD and thermal oxidation. Si wafers with thermal oxide films generally showed significantly stronger PL intensity than Si wafers with thermal CVD grown oxide films (Fig. 1). Trends in PL intensity and spectra indicate the SiO2/Si interface quality of the thermally oxidized SiO2/Si is superior to that of the thermal CVD grown SiO2/Si (Fig. 2). PL characterization is found to be very sensitive to the integrity of dielectric/Si interface and thus, is promising as an in-line, non-contact interface quality monitoring technique.