Date of Award

Fall 2005

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Engineering - (Ph.D.)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Durgamadhab Misra

Second Advisor

Leonid Tsybeskov

Third Advisor

Marek Sosnowski

Fourth Advisor

Haim Grebel

Fifth Advisor

P. K. Swain


Hafnium oxide HfO2 has been considered as an alternative to silicon dioxide SiO2 in future nano-scale complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) devices since it provides the required capacitance at the reduced device size because of its high dielectric constant. HfO2 films are currently deposited by various techniques. Many of them require high temperature annealing that can impact device performance and reliability.

In this research, electrical characteristics of capacitors with HfO2 as gate dielectric deposited by standard thermal evaporation and e-beam evaporation on Si and Ge substrates were investigated. The dielectric constant of HfO2 deposited by thermal evaporation on Si is in the range of 18-25. Al/HfO2/Si MOS capacitors annealed at 450°C show low hysteresis, leakage current density and bulk oxide charges. Interface state density and low temperature charge trapping behavior of these structures were also investigated.

Degradation in surface carrier mobility has been reported in Si field-effect-transistors with HfO2 as gate dielectric. To explore the possibility of alleviating this problem we have used germanium (Ge) substrate as this semiconductor has higher carrier mobility than Si. Devices fabricated by depositing HfO2 directly on Ge by standard thermal evaporation were found to be too leaky and show significant hysteresis and large shift in flatband voltage. This deterioration in electrical performance is mainly due to the formation of unstable interfacial layer of GeO2 during the HfO2 deposition. To minimize this effect, Ge surface was treated with the beam of atomic nitrogen prior to the dielectric deposition. The effect of surface nitridation, on interface as well as on bulk oxide, trap energy levels were investigated using low temperature C-V measurements. They revealed additional defect levels in the nitrided devices indicating diffusion of nitrogen from interface into the bulk oxide. Impact of surface nitridation on the reliability of Ge/HfO2/Al MOS capacitors has been investigated by application of constant voltage stress at different voltage levels for various time periods. It was observed that deeper trap levels in nitrided devices, found from low frequency and low temperature measurements, trap the charge carrier immediately after stress but with time these carriers detrap and create more traps inside the bulk oxide resulting in further devices deterioration. It is inferred that though nitrogen is effective in reducing interfacial layer growth it incorporates more defects at interface as well as in bulk oxide. Therefore, it is important to look into alternative methods of surface passivation to limit the growth of GeO2 at the interface.