Charge trapping and annealing in high-k gate dielectrics

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We examine the radiation response, annealing characteristics, and long-term reliability of capacitors with Al gates and Al2O3- SiOxNy gate dielectrics stacks which received a forming gas anneal (FGA) or an O2 and FG anneal after high-k deposition. By comparison to a theoretical capacitance-voltage (CV) curve, the FG annealed devices are found to have a large preirradiation interface trapped charge density of ∼7 × 1011 cm-2, whereas devices annealed in O2 and FG show a large density (∼9 × 10 11 cm-2) of negative bulk charge. The midgap voltage shift (ΔVmg) increases monotonically with dose for both sets of devices, but the O2 annealed devices exhibit 50% less trapping at a total dose of 2 Mrad(SiO2). The radiation-induced voltage shifts are found to recover during long duration biased anneals as a result of tunneling and thermal annealing. For short times and large biases, the annealing response is found to be dominated by tunneling. After 1,000 s of annealing, there is a 50% reduction in ΔVmg for devices annealed at 2.0 MV/cm and a 7.5% recovery for devices annealed at 1.0 MV/cm. For longer times, the annealing response of these devices is dominated by thermal annealing. Accelerated life testing shows these devices have a broad failure distribution with a large population of extrinsic failures. Extrapolation of the reliability data suggests these particular devices would have to be operated at an electric field less than ∼2.5 MV/cm to achieve a ten-year operational lifetime. Improved reliability is, therefore, required before insertion into a manufacturing environment.