There has been some uncertainty as to the impact of fluorine (F) on SiO2 quality and reliability. Several laboratories have shown greatly enhanced quality and reliability with fluorinated oxides, while others have been unable to repeat the results. In addition, the laboratories which have shown enhanced reliability with the fluorinated oxides have differed in their interpretation of the mechanism by which the enhancement occurs. X-ray diffraction stress measurements, partial time dependent dielectric breakdown (TDDB) measurements, SIMS depth profiling, transmission electron microscopy, standard high/low frequency C-V measurements, and hot-carrier aging of variously processed MOSFETs have been used to investigate a variety of fluorinated films. We believe that the apparent lack of consistency of the effects of fluorine on MOSFET reliability between laboratories may be explained by slight variations in the gate polysilicon processing which result in variations in polysilicon morphology. The polysilicon morphology determines both mechanical stress and F diffusion which ultimately impacts interface state density and thus hot carrier reliability.