Interfaces Formed by ALD Metal Oxide Growth on Metal Layers

Tuesday, 3 October 2017: 15:40
Chesapeake L (Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center)
S. Aussen, A. Hardtdegen, K. Skaja, and S. Hoffmann-Eifert (PGI and JARA-Fit, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Germany)
Redox-based resistive switching random access memory (ReRAM) has the potential to fulfill the demands of future Green IT solutions for non-volatile memory circuits with high speed data access, high reliability, and low power consumption. A single valence-change-mechanism (VCM)-type switching cell is typically built from a transition metal oxide layer sandwiched between metal electrodes of different oxidation enthalpy. It is accepted in the scientific community that oxygen exchange and drift/diffusion processes play a major role in the resistive switching process. Thus, understanding oxidation/reduction reactions taking place already during the growth process is of utmost importance.

For future three-dimensional (3D) integrated arrays of ReRAM cells atomic layer deposition (ALD) will become the method of choice to grow ultra-thin, conformal, homogeneous and dense oxide films at a thermal budget below 450 °C. For todays’ two dimensional stacked crossbar arrays, the metal oxide films can be grown on nearly inert Pt electrodes, while the oxygen exchange layer built from a reactive metal is deposited on top of the metal oxide. However, in the 3D ReRAM arrays the metal oxide might need to be grown on the reactive metal as well.

In this study ultrathin ALD metal oxide layers are deposited on various metal electrodes by means of in-situ transfer from the sputtered metal into the ALD chamber. For the metal layers we utilized Pt, Hf, and Ta while for the metal oxides Al2O3, TiO2, and HfO2 were chosen. ALD metal oxide processes were performed by plasma assisted ALD in an Oxford FlexAlâ system.

Due to the passivation property of the dense ALD metal oxide layer the metal oxide / metal interfaces could be analyzed ex-situ if the vacuum break was kept short. Angle resolved X-ray photoemission spectroscopy studies combined with X-ray reflectivity analysis reveal a clear picture of the interface formation and the oxygen gradient formed at the interface already during growth. The influence of process parameters and stack sequences on this ‘built-in’ oxygen gradient at metal / ALD metal oxide interfaces will be covered in this presentation. Among others, the possibility for PtOx formation during remote oxygen plasma ALD processes will be discussed.