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Determination of Hydrogen in Semiconductors and Related Materials by Cold Neutron Capture Prompt Gamma-Ray Activation Analysis

  • Rick L. Paul (a1) and Richard M. Lindstrom (a1)


A reliable nondestructive method for measuring trace amounts of hydrogen in semiconductors and related materials has long been needed. Cold neutron capture prompt γ-ray activation analysis (CNPGAA) is a nondestructive, multielement technique which has found application in the measurement of trace amounts of hydrogen. The sample is irradiated by a beam of “cold” neutrons; the presence of hydrogen is confirmed by the detection of a 2223 keV gamma-ray. The technique gives bulk analyses (the neutron and gamma radiation penetrate the sample), the hydrogen peak is free of interferences, and the results are independent of the chemical form of hydrogen present. The instrument is capable of detecting less than 10 mg/kg of hydrogen in many matrices. We have used the technique to measure hydrogen levels in a dielectric film on a silicon wafer, semiconductor grade germanium, and quartz.



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