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Charge Transport in Low Stress Si-rich Silicon Nitride Thin Films

  • S. Habermehl (a1) and C. Carmignani (a1)


Field dependent bulk charge transport in Si-rich, low stress silicon nitride thin films is studied in correlation to the local atomic Si-N bond strain. Across a range of film compositions varying from fully stoichiometric Si3N4 to Si-rich SiN0.54, Poole-Frenkel emission is determined to be the dominant charge transport mechanism with the Poole- Frenkel barrier height found to decrease concomitantly from 1.10 to 0.52 eV. Across the same composition range the local residual Si-N bond strain, as measured by FTIR spectroscopy, is observed to vary from 0.006 to –0.0026. Comparison of the barrier height to the residual strain reveals a direct correlation between the two quantities. It is concluded that reductions in the Poole-Frenkel barrier height are a manifestation of compositionally induced strain relief at the molecular level. Reductions in the barrier height result in increased Poole-Frenkel emission detrapping rates and consequently higher leakage currents in Si-rich films.



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