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Title: Spurious phenomena occurring during current measurement on ultra-thin dielectric layers: From electro-thermal effects to surface damage

In this paper, the conduction properties of dielectric ultra-thin layers are studied using atomic force microscopy. Especially, the conductive-atomic force microscope allows to measure the leakage current at the nanoscale and to study the degradation mechanisms locally. Nonetheless, the dielectric layer seems to be damaged by a technique's specific phenomenon: hillocks appear when a positive tip bias is applied on different dielectrics. In this paper, the formation of these hillocks is studied. Contrary to what is observed during the dielectric breakdown, the conductivity is reduced after hillocks formation which occurs after the dielectric breakdown. Moreover, we have observed the formation of cavities in the silicon substrate linked to the formation of hillocks, which is not compatible with a swelling process (as dielectric breakdown induced epitaxy). We propose that these results may be explained by an electro-thermal effect due to the large dissipated energy, maybe combined with the oxidation of the substrate. Finally, the interdependence of measurements is demonstrated during serial acquisition.
Authors:
; ; ; ;  [1]
  1. Institut des Nanotechnologies de Lyon (INL), UMR CNRS 5270, INSA de Lyon, 7 Avenue Jean Capelle, 69621 Villeurbanne CEDEX (France)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22273659
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Applied Physics; Journal Volume: 115; Journal Issue: 13; Other Information: (c) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY; 77 NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY; ATOMIC FORCE MICROSCOPY; BREAKDOWN; DAMAGE; DIELECTRIC MATERIALS; ELECTRIC CONDUCTIVITY; EPITAXY; LAYERS; LEAKAGE CURRENT; NANOSTRUCTURES; OXIDATION; SILICON; SUBSTRATES; TEMPERATURE DEPENDENCE; THIN FILMS