As design rules shrink to conform with ULSI device dimensions, gate dielectrics for MOSFET structures are required to be scaled to even thinner proportions. Upon scaling the gate oxides below ∼60Å some properties of the device, such as interface roughness, that are negligible for thicker films become critical and must be evaluated. Microroughness at the interface of ultrathin MOS capacitors has been shown to degrade these devices.
We are studying the interfacial region of ∼50Å SiO2 on Si using the quantum oscillations in Fowler-Nordheim tunneling currents. The oscillations are sensitive to the electron potential and abruptness of the film and its interfaces. In particular, inelastic scattering and/or thickness inhomogeneities in the film will reduce the amplitude of the oscillations. We are using the amplitude of the oscillations to examine the degree of microroughness at the interface that results from a pre-oxidation high temperature anneal in an inert ambient containing various amounts of H2O. Preliminary AFM imaging has shown correlations supporting our microroughness interpretation of the quantum oscillation amplitudes.