Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2007
  • Online publication date: September 2009

3 - Characterization of extended defects in semiconductors



This chapter outlines the principles, advantages and limitations of the methods in use for the characterization of extended defects and should enable the reader to appreciate the experimental results presented. For additional accounts see Brundle et al. 1992, Yacobi et al. 1994, Schroder 1998, and Runyan and Shaffner 1998.

Characterization methods can be classified as (i) either surface or bulk techniques, as (ii) either destructive or non-destructive methods, and as (iii) either requiring the application of contacts or not. We have excluded the free surface from consideration on the grounds that, like point defects, its study constitutes a large specialized field already covered by many publications. We therefore also omit surface microscopy and analysis techniques here. Generally, non-destructive techniques are preferred as are contactless ones. However, in practice neither is a very important factor as generally one or a few specimens can be sacrificed for destructive examination and contacts can usually be applied.

Characterization techniques are essential for failure analysis and quality control of semiconductor materials and devices. Often failure modes are associated with manufacturing process-induced defects or with defect-dependent device degradation in service.

Electrical measurements for the analysis of a wide range of semiconductor transport properties such as, for example, resistivity (conductivity), Hall effect and capacitance-voltage measurements are made on whole bulk specimens and devices. The net influence on these properties of all the defects present then appears in the results.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO
Abraham, D. L., Veider, A., Schönenberger, Ch., Meier, H. P., Arent, D. J. and Alvarado, S. F. (1990). Nanometer resolution in luminescence microscopy of III-V heterostructures. Applied Physics Letters, 56, 1564–6.
Abrahams, M. S. and Buiocchi, C. J. (1965). Etching of dislocations on the low-index faces of GaAs. Journal of Applied Physics. 36, 2855–63.
Ahearn, J. S., Ball, C. A. B. and Laird, C. (1976). Stress-induced birefringence of mismatching III-V heterojunctions. Physica Status Solidi, A38, 315–20.
Alvarado, S. F., Renaud, P. H., Abraham, D. al. (1991). Luminescence in scanning tunnelling microscopy on III-V structures. Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology, B9, 409–13.
Amelinckx, S. (1964). The Direct Observation of Dislocations. New York: Academic Press.
Ash, E. A. (ed.) (1980). Scanned Image Microscopy. London: Academic Press.
Authier, A. (1978). Contrast of image in x-ray topography. In Diffraction and Imaging Techniques in Materials Science, vol. II Imaging and Diffraction Techniques, ed. Amelinckx, S., Gevers, R. and Landuyt, J.. (Amsterdam: North-Holland), pp. 481–520.
Berndt, R. and Gimzewski, J. K. (1992). Injection luminescence from CdS (1120) studied with scanning tunnelling microscopy. Physical Review, B45, 14095–9.
Bogenschutz, A. F., Krusemark, W., Locherer, K. H. and Mussinger, W. (1967). Activation energies in chemical etching of semiconductors in HNO3-HF-CH3COOH. Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 114, 970–3.
Booyens, H. and Basson, J. H. (1980a). The application of elastobirefringence to the study of strain fields and dislocations in III-V compounds. Journal of Applied Physics, 51, 4368–74.
Booyens, H. and Basson, J. H. (1980b). The analysis of dislocations in strained III-V semiconductor crystals using elastobirefringence. Journal of Applied Physics, 51, 4375–8.
Brada, Y., Holt, D. B. and Napchan, E. (1999). Growth spirals and morphology in vapour deposited Zns. Institute of Physics Conference Series (164), 697–702.
Brinkman, W. F. (1997). The materials basis behind the telecommunications revolution. In Microscopy of Semiconducting Materials 1997, Institute of Physics Conference Series (157), pp. 1–12.
Brown, P. D. and Humphreys, C. J. (1996). Scanning transmission electron beam induced conductivity investigation of a Si/Si1–xGex/Si heterostructure. Journal of Applied Physics, 80, 2527–9.
Browning, N. D., Arslan, I., Ito, Y., James, E. M., Klie, R. F., Moeck, P., Topuria, T. and Xin, Y. (2001). Application of atomic scale STEM techniques to the study of interfaces and defects in materials. Journal of Electron Microscopy, 50, 205–18.
Brundle, C. R., Evans, C. A. and Wilson, S. (eds.) (1992). Encyclopedia of Materials Characterization. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Burge, R. E., Michette, A. G. and Duke, P. J. (1987). X-ray microscopy and x-ray imaging. Scanning Microscopy, 1, 891–900.
Camp, P.R. (1955). A study of the etching rate of single-crystal germanium. Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 102, 586–93.
Carpenter, R. W. and Spence, J. C. H. (1982). Three-dimensional strain-field information in convergent-beam electron diffraction patterns. Acta Crystallographica, A38, 55–61.
Castaldini, A. and Cavallini, A. (1989). Imaging of extended defects by quenched infra-red beam induced currents (Q-IRBIC). In Point and Extended Defects in Semicondoctors, eds. Benedek, G., Cavallini, A. and Schröter, W. (New York: Plenum Press), pp. 257–68.
Castaldini, A., Cavallini, A. and Gondi, P. (1987). IRBIC semiconductor defect pictures. Bulletin of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR Division of Physical Science, 51, 77–80.
Cavallini, A. and Castaldini, A. (1991). Developments of IRBIC and QIRBIC in defect studies: A review. Journal de Physique, C6, 89–99.
Cherns, D. and Preston, A. R. (1986). Convergent beam diffraction studies of crystal defects. In Proceedings of the 11th International Congress on Electron Microscopy, Kyoto, eds. Imura, T., Maruse, S. and Suzuki, T. (Tokyo: The Japanese Society of Electron Microscopy), pp. 721–2.
Cherns, D. and Morniroli, J. P. (1994). Analysis of partial and stair-rod dislocations by large-angle convergent-beam electron-diffraction. Ultramicroscopy, 53, 167–80.
Cherns, D., Young, W. T. and Ponce, F. A. (1997). Characterisation of dislocations, nanopipes and inversion domains in GaN by transmission electron microscopy. Materials Science and Engineering, B50, 76–81.
Dash, W. C. (1957). The observation of dislocations in silicon. In Dislocations and Mechanical Properties of Crystals, eds. Fisher, J. C., Johnston, W. G., Thomson, R. and Vreeland, T. (New York: Wiley), pp. 57–67.
Dash, W. C. (1958). The growth of silicon crystals free from dislocations. In Growth and Perfection of Crystals, eds. Doremus, R. H., Roberts, B. W. and Turnbull, D. (New York: Wiley), pp. 361–82.
Vittorio, M., Cingolani, R., Mazzer, M., Napchan, E. and Holt, D. B. (1997). Sub-micron characterization tool for fast investigation of defects and morphology of semiconductor devices. Physics of Low-Dimensional Structures, 12, 63–8.
Vittorio, M., Cingolani, R., Mazzer, M. and Holt, D. B. (1999). Sub-micron photocurrent mapping of heterostructures by miro-probe optical beam induced current. Review of Scientific Instruments, 70, 3429–31.
Dingley, D. J., Randle, V. and Baba-Kishi, K. Z. (1993). Atlas of Backscattering Patterns. Bristol: Adam Hilger.
Drebeen, A. (1965). Microstructures in CdS:Au single crystals. Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 112, 493–6.
Dumas, P., Gu, M., Syrykh, al. (1994a). Photon spectroscopy, mapping and topography of 85% porous silicon. Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology, B12, 2064–6.
Dumas, P., Gu, M., Syrykh, al. (1994b). Nanostructuring of porous silicon using scanning tunnelling microscopy. Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology, B12, 2067–9.
Elliott, C. R. and Regnault, J. C. (1981). Birefringence studies of defects in III-V semiconductors. In Microscopy of Semiconducting Materials 1981. Conf. Series No. 60, eds. Cullis, A. G. and Joy, D. C. (Bristol: Institute of Physics), pp. 365–70.
Elliott, C. R., Regnault, J. C. and Wakefield, B. (1982). Applications of polarised infrared microscopy in the evaluation of InP and related compounds. In Proc. Int. Symposium on GaAs and Related Compounds, Albuquerque. Conf. Series No. 65 (Bristol: Institute of Physics), pp. 553–60.
Everhart, T. E. and Hoff, P. H. (1971). Determination of kilovolt electron energy dissipation vs. penetration distance in solid materials. Journal of Applied Physics, 42, 5837–46.
Fathers, D. J. and Tanner, B. K. (1973a). Optical contrast of inclined boundaries in birefringent magnetic materials. Philosophical Magazine, 27, 17–34.
Fathers, D. J. and Tanner, B. K. (1973b). Line defects in barium titanate observed by polarized light microscopy. Philosophical Magazine, 28, 749–70.
Faust, J. W. (1962). Etching of the III-V intermetallic compounds. In Compound Semiconductors 1, Preparation of III-V Compounds, eds. Willardson, R. K. and Goering, H. L.. New York: Reinhold.
Gimzewski, J. K. (1993). Scanning tunnelling microscopy. Journal de Physique, C3, 41–8.
Gimzewski, J. K (1995). Photon emission from STM: concepts. In Photons and Local Probes: Proc. NATO Advanced Research Workshop 1995, pp. 189–208.
Gimzewski, J. K., Riehl, B., Coombs, J. H. and Schlittler, R. R. (1988). Photon emission with the scanning tunnelling microscope. Zeitschrift für Physik, B72, 497–501.
Goldstein, J. I., Newbury, D. E., Echlin, al. (1981). Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Microanalysis. New York: Plenum Press.
Goodhew, P. J. and Humphreys, F. J. (1988). Electron Microscopy and Analysis. London: Taylor & Francis.
Grigg, D. A. and Russell, P. E. (1994). Scanning probe microscopy. In Microanalysis of Solids, eds. Yacobi, B. G., Holt, D. B. and Kazmerski, L. L. (New York: Plenum Press), pp. 389–447.
Gustafsson, A., Pistol, M. E., Montelius, L. and Samuelson, L. (1998). Local probe techniques for luminescence studies of low-dimensional semiconductor structures. Journal of Applied Physics, 84, 1715–75.
Hayes, R. (1984). Optical Microscopy of Materials. Glasgow: Internat. Textbook Co.
Head, A. K., Humble, P., Clareborough, L. M., Morton, A. J. and Forward, C. T. (1972). Computed Electron Micrographs and Defect Identification. Amsterdam: North-Holland.
Hilgarth, J. (1978). Direct observation of dislocations in GaP crystals. Journal of Materials Science, 13, 2697–702.
Hirsch, P. B., Howie, A., Nicholson, R. B., Pashley, D. W. and Whelan, M. J. (1977). Electron Microscopy of Thin Crystals (2nd edn). Huntington, NY: Krieger Publishing.
Holmes, P. J. (1962). Practical applications of chemical etching. In The Electrochemistry of Semiconductors, ed. Holmes, P. J.. London: Academic.
Holt, D. B. (2000). The remote electron beam induced current analysis of grain boundaries in semiconducting and semi-insulating materials. Scanning, 21, 28–51.
Holt, D. B. and Joy, D. C. (eds.) (1989). SEM Microcharacterization of Semiconductors. London: Academic Press.
Hsu, J. W. P. (2001). Near-field scanning optical microscopy studies of electronic and photonic materials and devices. Materials Science and Engineering, 33, 1–50.
Iqbal, M. (1980). Birefringence observations of strain and plastic deformation in GaP. Journal of Materials Science, 15, 781–4.
Jenkins, D. A. and Hren, J. J. (1976). Quantitative piezobirefringence studies of dislocations in transparent crystals. Philosophical Magazine, 33, 173–80.
Jenkins, M. W. (1977). New preferential etch for defects in silicon-crystals. Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 124, 757–62.
Johnston, W. G. (1962). Dislocation etch pits in non-metallic crystals, with bibliography. Progress in Ceramic Science, 2, 1–76.
Joy, D. C. (1995). Monte Carlo Modelling for Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Joy, D. C., Romig, A. D. and Goldstein, J. I. (1986). Principles of Analytical Electron Microscopy. New York: Plenum.
Kazmerski, L. L. (1991). Specific atom imaging, nanoprocessing and electrical nanoanalysis with scanning tunnelling microscopy. Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology, B9, 1549–56.
Kelly, A., Groves, G. W. and Kidd, P. (2000). Crystallography and Crystal Defects. Chichester: Wiley.
Kögel, G. (2002). Microscopes/microprobes. Applied Surface Science, 194, 200–9.
Koschinski, P., Dworak, V., Kaufmann, K. and Balk, L. J. (1993). Prospects of an application of a scanning tunnelling microscope to electron beam induced current (EBIC) investigations. In Defect Recognition Image Proc. in Semicond. and Devices Conf., Santander. IoP Conf. Series No. 135 (Bristol: Institute of Physics), pp. 65–8.
Koschinski, P., Kaufmann, K. and Balk, L. J. (1994a). EBIC-investigations of grain boundaries in diamond films with SEM and STM. In Proceedings of ICEM 13, Paris, pp. 1121–2.
Koschinski, P., Dworak, V. and Balk, L. J. (1994b). High resolution electron beam induced current measurements in a scanning tunnelling microscope on GaAs-MESFET. Scanning Microscopy, 8, 175–80.
Kotake, H., Hirahara, K. and Watanabe, M. (1980). Quantitative photoelastic measurement of residual stress in LEC grown GaP crystals. Journal of Crystal Growth, 50, 743–51.
Krause-Rehberg, R. and Leipner, H. S. (1999). Positron Annihilation in Semiconductors, Vol. 127 of Springer Series ‘Solid-State Sciences’. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. (For early studies of semiconductors by numerous authors, see references therein.)
Lang, A. (1978). Techniques and interpretation in x-ray topography. In Diffraction and Imaging Techniques in Materials Science Vol. II Imaging and Diffraction Techniques, eds. Amelinckx, S., Gevers, R. and Landuyt, J. (Amsterdam: North-Holland), pp. 407–79.
Leipner, H. S., Hubner, C. G., Staab, T. E. M., Haugk, M., Krause-Rehberg, R. (1999). Positron annihilation at dislocations and related point defects in semiconductors. Physica Status Solidi, A171, 377–82.
Loretto, M. H. and Smallman, R. E. (1975). Defect Analysis in Electron Microscopy. London: Chapman & Hall.
Lynch, R. T., Thomas, D. G. and Dietz, R. E. (1963). Growth and decoration of ZnTe crystals. Journal of Applied Physics, 34, 706–7.
Matthews, J. W., Plaskett, T. S. and Blum, S. E. (1977). Optical birefringence images of dislocations in large gallium phosphide crystals. Journal of Crystal Growth, 42, 621–4.
Michette, A. G. and Potts, A. W. (1994). X-ray microscopy. In Microanalysis of Solids, eds. Yacobi, B. G., Holt, D. B. and Kazmerski, L. L. (New York: Plenum Press), pp. 233–46.
Montelius, L., Pistol, M.-E. and Samuelson, L. (1992). Low-temperature luminescence due to minority carrier injection from the scanning tunnelling microscope tip. Ultramicroscopy, 42–44, 210–14.
Morniroli, J. P. (1997). Accurate measurement of grain boundary misorientation by large angle convergent beam electron diffraction. Interface Science, 4, 273–83.
Morniroli, J.-P. (2002). Large-angle convergent beam electron diffraction (LACBED). Applications to crystal defects. (Paris: Societe Francaise des Microscopies, English translation.)
Morniroli, J. P., No, M. L., Rodriguez, P. al. (2003). CBED and LACBED: characterization of antiphase boundaries. Ultramicroscopy, 98, 9–26.
Pennycook, S. J. and Jesson, D. E. (1991). High-resolution Z-contrast imaging of crystals. Ultramicroscopy, 37, 14–38.
Randle, V. (1993). The Measurement of Grain Boundary Geometry. Bristol: Adam-Hilger.
Randle, V. and Engler, O. (2000). Introduction to Texture Analysis: Macrotexture, Microtexture and Orientation Mapping. Amsterdam: Gordon & Breach.
Ray, I. L. F. and Cockayne, D. J. H. (1971). The dissociation of dislocations in silicon. Proceedings of the Royal Society, A325, 543–54.
Reinhart, F. K. and Logan, R. A. (1973). Interface stress of AlxGa1-xAs - GaAs layer structures. Journal of Applied Physics, 44, 3171–5.
Revesz, P. and Li, J. (1994). Applications of megaelectron-volt ion beams in materials analysis. In Microanalysis of Solids, eds. Yacobi, B. G., Holt, D. B. and Kazmerski, L. L. (New York: Plenum Press), pp. 179–215.
Runyan, W. R. and Shaffner, T. J. (1998). Semiconductor Measurements and Instrumentation. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Schroder, D. K. (1998). Semiconductor Material and Device Characterization (2nd edn). New York: Wiley.
Schwuttke, G. H. (1970). Silicon material problems in semiconductor device technology. Microelectronics and Reliability, 9, 397–412.
Secco d'Aragona, F. (1972). Dislocation etch for (100) planes in silicon. Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 119, 948–51.
Sirtl, E. and Adler, A. (1961). Chromsaure-flusssaure als spezifisches system zur atzgrubenentwicklung auf silizium. Zeitschrift fur metallkunde, 52, 529–31.
Spence, J. C. H. (1988). Experimental High Resolution Electron Microscopy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Spence, J. C. H. and Zuo, J. M. (1992). Electron Microdiffraction. New York: Plenum.
Steeds, J. W. (2002). Convergent beam electron diffraction. Advances in Imaging and Electron Physics, 123, 71–103.
Steeds, J. W. and Vincent, R. (1983). Use of high-symmetry zone axes in electron-diffraction in determining crystal point and space-groups. Journal of Applied Crystallography, 16, 317–24.
Stirland, D. J., Hart, D. G., Clark, S., Regnault, J. C. and Elliott, C. R. (1983). Characterization of defects in InP substrates. Journal of Crystal Growth, 61, 645–57.
Tanaka, M., Saito, R., Ueno, K., Harada, Y. (1980). Large-angle convergent-beam electron-diffraction. Journal of Electron Microscopy, 29, 408–12.
Tanaka, M., Terauchi, M. and Kaneyama, T. (1991). Identification of lattice-defects by convergent-beam electron-diffraction. Journal of Electron Microscopy, 40, 211–20.
Tanner, B. K. (1977). Crystal assessment by x-ray topography using synchrotron radiation. Progress in Crystal Growth and Characterization, 1, 23–56.
Tanner, B. K. and Bowen, D. K. (eds.) (1980). Characterization of Crystal Growth Defects by X-Ray Methods. NATO Adv. Study Inst. Series B: Physics Vol. 63 (New York: Plenum Press).
Tanner, B. K. and Fathers, D. J. (1974). Contrast of defects under polarized light. Philosophical Magazine, 29, 1081–94.
Vijayalakshmi, M., Saroja, S. and Mythili, R. (2003). Convergent beam electron diffraction – a novel technique for materials characterisation at sub-microscopic levels. SADHANA-Academy Proceedings in Engineering Sciences, 28, 763–82.
Vogel, F. L., Pfann, W. G., Corey, H. E. and Thomas, E. E. (1953). Observations of dislocations in lineage boundaries in germanium. Physical Review, 90, 489–90.
Wang, Z., Leipner, H. S., Krause-Rehberg, R., Bodarenko, V. and Gu, H. (2003). Defects properties in plastically deformed silicon studied by positron lifetime measurements. Microelectronic Engineering, 66, 358–66.
Wiesendanger, R. (1994). Scanning Probe Microscopy and Spectroscopy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wiesendanger, R. and Güntherodt, H.-J. (eds.) (1995). Scanning Tunneling Microscopy II. New York: Springer-Verlag.
Yacobi, B. G. and Holt, D. B. (1990). Cathodoluminescence Microscopy of Inorganic Solids. New York: Plenum.
Yacobi, B. G., Holt, D. B. and Kazmerski, L. L. (eds.) (1994). Microanalysis of Solids. New York: Plenum Press.
Zhu, J. and Cowley, J. M. (1983). Micro-diffraction from stacking faults and twin boundaries in FCC crystals. Journal of Applied Crystallography, 16, 171–5.