Dramatic reduction of gate leakage current of ultrathin oxides through oxide structure modification

Zhi Chen, Jun Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We study in detail a new effect, phonon-energy-coupling enhancement (PECE) effect, produced by rapid thermal processing (RTP). It includes two aspects: (1) strengthening Si-D bonds and Si-O bonds and (2) change of energy band structure and effective mass. It is shown that not only Si-D bonds but also Si-O bonds have been strengthened dramatically, leading to enhancement of robustness of the oxide structure and the oxide/Si interface. For thick oxides (>3 nm), the gate leakage current has been reduced by two-orders of magnitude and the breakdown voltage has been improved by ∼30% due to phonon energy coupling. For ultrathin oxides (2.2 nm), the direct tunnelling current has been reduced by five orders of magnitude, equivalent to that of HfO2, probably due to increased effective mass and barrier height.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1004-1011
Number of pages8
JournalSolid-State Electronics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Chen Z. Career: fundamental reliability physics of MOS devices based on deuterium isotope effects. Washington, DC: National Science Foundation Proposal # 0093156; 2000.

Funding Information:
This research is supported by National Science Foundation (ECS-0093156 and EPS- 0447479) and the Office of Vice President for Research, University of Kentucky. We thank Dr. Chandan Samantaray, Pangleen Ong, and Wei Wen for technical assistance, and Dr. Janet Lumpp for fabrication of shadow masks. We also thank Prof. Fuqian Yang of University of Kentucky, Ross M. Boyle of Thermo Electron Corporation, and Si-Chen Lee of National Taiwan University for helpful suggestion.


  • Coupling
  • Gate oxide
  • Leakage current
  • Phonon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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