Device characterization and reliability of Dysprosium (Dy) incorporated HfO₂ CMOS devices and its application to high-k NAND flash memory



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Dy-incorporated HfO₂ gate oxide with TaN gate electrode nMOS device has been developed for high performance CMOS applications in 22nm node technology. DyO /HfO bi-layer structure shows thin EOT with reduced leakage current and less charge trapping compared to HfO₂. Excellent electrical performance of the DyO-capped HfO₂ oxide n-MOSFET such as lower V[subscript TH], higher drive current, and improved channel electron mobility are reported. DyO/HfO samples also show better immunity for V[subscript TH] instability and less severe charge trapping characteristics. Its charge trapping characteristics, conduction mechanisms and dielectric reliability have been investigated in this work. As an application to memory device, HfON charge trapping layered NAND flash memory is developed and characterized. First, temperature-dependent Dy diffusion and the diffusion-driven Dy dipole formation process are discussed to clarify the origin of V[subscript TH] shift, and eventually modulate the effective work function in Dy-Hf-O/SiO₂ system. The Dy-induced dipoles are closely related to the Dy-silicate formation at the high-k/SiO₂ interfaces since the V[subscript FB] shift in Dy₂O₃ is caused by the dipole and coincides with the Dy-silicate formation. Dipole formation is a thermally activated process, and more dipoles are formed at a higher temperature with a given Dy content. The Dy-silicate related bonding structure at the interface is associated with the strength of the Dy dipole moment, and becomes dominant in controlling the V[subscript FB]/V[scubscript TH] shift during high temperature annealing in the Dy- Hf-O/SiO₂ gate oxide system. Dy-induced dipole reduces the degradation of the electron mobility. Second, to understand the reduced leakage current of the DyO/HfO sample, the effective barrier height of Dy₂O₃ was calculated from FN tunneling models, and the band diagram was estimated. The higher effective barrier height of Dy₂O₃, which is around 2.32 eV calculated from the F-N plot, accounts for the reduced leakage current in Dy incorporated HfO₂ nMOS devices. The lower barrier height of HfO₂ result in increased electron tunneling currents enhanced by the buildup of hole charges trapped in the oxide, which causes a severe increase of stress-induced leakage current (SILC), leading to oxide breakdown. However, the increased barrier height in Dy incorporated HfO₂ inhibits a further increase of the electron tunneling from the TaN gate, and trapped holes lessen the hole tunneling currents, resulting in a negligible SILC. The lower trap generation rate by the reduced hole trap density and the reduced hole tunneling of the Dy-doped HfO₂ dielectric demonstrates the high dielectric breakdown strength by weakening the charge trapping and defect generation during the stress. Based on these fundamental studies of the dielectric breakdown, modeling of time-dependent dielectric breakdown (TDDB) was done. The intrinsic TDDB of the Dy-doped HfO₂ gate oxide having 1 nm EOT is characterized by the progressive breakdown (PBD) model. At high temperature, the PBD becomes severe, since thermal energy causes carrier hopping between the localized weak spots. The voltage acceleration factor derived from the power law shows a realistic prediction in comparison with those from the 1/E model. The increase of the voltage acceleration factor at lower stress voltage is due to the lower trap generation rate in Dy- incorporated HfO₂. This voltage acceleration factor can be easily extended to include temperature dependency, and the effective activation energy derived from the power law is voltage dependent. Lastly, I studied the device characteristics of thin HfON charge-trap layer nonvolatile memory in a TaN/Al₂O₃/HfON/SiO₂/p-Si (TANOS) structure. A large memory window and fast erase speed, as well as good retention time, were achieved by using the NH₃ nitridation technique to incorporate nitrogen into the thin HfO₂ layer, which causes a high electron-trap density in the HfON layer. The higher dielectric constant of the HfON charge-trap layer induces a higher electric field in the tunneling oxide at the same voltage compared to non-nitrided films and, thus, creates a high Fowler-Nordheim (FN) tunneling current to increase the erase and programming speed. The trap-level energy in the HfON layer was calculated by using an amphoteric model.