A new Photoluminescence (PL) method has been developed to detect defects in the near surface region of Si wafers and Si-on-insulator (SOI) structures. Wafer maps (up to 300 min diameter) can be readily acquired and areas of interest can be scanned at high resolution (≈1 μm). The excitation laser beam is modulated to confine the photogenerated carriers; defects are observed due to the localised reduction of the carrier lifetime. Si p-type (10 Ohm.cm) wafers were intentionally contaminated with various levels of Ni and Fe (1×109−5×1010 atoms/cm2) and annealed. The PL intensity was observed to decrease due to the metal related non-radiative defects. Whereas in contrast, for Cu, (1×109−5×1010 atoms/cm2) the PL intensity actually increased initially and reached a maximum value at 5×109 atoms/cm2. It is suggested that during contamination the Cu related defects have complexed with existing defects (that have stronger recombination properties) and increased the PL. Further Cu contamination (1×1010−5×1010 atoms/cm2) produced a reduction in the PL intensity. PL mapping of strained SiGe epilayers showed that misfit dislocations can be detected and PL can be used to evaluate material quality.
PL maps of SOI bonded wafers revealed that the non-bonded areas, voids or gas bubbles could be detected. This was confirmed using defect etching and polishing, voids as small as ≈30 μm in diameter could be detected. SOI wafers fabricated using the separation by implanted oxygen (SIMOX) technique were also analysed, variations in the recombination properties of the layer could be observed. Further inspection using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed that the defects were non-uniformities of the buried oxide covering several microns and containing tetrahedral stacking faults. Focused ion beam (FIB) milling and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) showed that these defects were at the Si/SiO2 interface and were chemically different to the surrounding area.