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Two mechanisms of plasma processing damage to thin gate oxide structures were studied. Thin 17.5 mu oxide on Si substrate structures were studied after direct exposure to a oxygen plasma environment with surface charge analysis and breakdown voltage measurements. A second antenna structure was used to study the charging effects of an oxygen plasma on 17.5 nm gate oxides through breakdown voltage measurements. A correlation was found between duration of plasma exposure and the extent of damage in terms of decreased dielectric strength and changes in oxide charge levels for both experiments.

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