2. Oxides - ultra thin oxides

Moderators: Rolf-Peter Vollertsen (Siemens) & Dave Dumin (Clemson Univ.)

A lot of open questions still exist in the area of oxide reliability. New aspects come into play when the oxide thickness is scaled down to only a few nm. What should we mainly be measuring, electric or thermal (catastrophic dielectric) breakdowns; non-destructive, soft- or quasi breakdowns; intrinsic and/or extrinsic breakdowns; Qbd, Tbd or Ebd? In really thin oxides, who cares if there are failures since intrinsic oxides conduct so much current anyway because it may be hard to tell when there is a short circuit in parallel with a leaky intrinsic oxide? Besides, a lot of bad things, like SILC's, Vt shifts, gm shifts, etc. happen long before intrinsic oxide failures. On the other hand aren't the extrinsic breakdowns much more important than the intrinsic? How is oxide reliability affected by the change conduction mechanisms from Fowler-Nordheim to direct tunneling? Especially, what effect has it on the reliability measurement methods? How, for example, will SILC or any other leakage current at low fields be monitored during highly accelerated stress measurements? How can a manufacturer sell a thin oxide with a low Qbd measured with traditional reliability test when the customer still requires the old target specs? What are the realistic future targets of ultra thin oxide reliability? How can we measure them?

Other discussion topics of interest are: