Physical mechanism of progressive breakdown in gate oxides

Felix Palumbo, Salvatore Lombardo, Moshe Eizenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

The definition of the basic physical mechanisms of the dielectric breakdown (BD) phenomenon is still an open area of research. In particular, in advanced complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) circuits, the BD of gate dielectrics occurs in the regime of relatively low voltage and very high electric field; this is of enormous technological importance, and thus widely investigated but still not well understood. Such BD is characterized by a gradual, progressive growth of the gate leakage through a localized BD spot. In this paper, we report for the first time experimental data and a model which provide understanding of the main physical mechanism responsible for the progressive BD growth. We demonstrate the ability to control the breakdown growth rate of a number of gate dielectrics and provide a physical model of the observed behavior, allowing to considerably improve the reliability margins of CMOS circuits by choosing a correct combination of voltage, thickness, and thermal conductivity of the gate dielectric.

Original languageEnglish
Article number224101
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Volume115
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - 14 Jun 2014

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