In this study the SCP (Surface Charge Profiling) method, based on non-contact, small-signal ac-SPV measurement is used to study thermal activation of boron in the near surface region of p-type Si wafers. Boron tends to form pairs with impurities such as hydrogen, iron and copper in the near surface region of Si substrates which render it inactive. During device processing, activation of boron may take place resulting in uncontrolled variations in active boron concentration in the near surface region.
In this work, both boron doped, polished CZ wafers and wafers with boron doped epitaxial layers are studied. In the former case, the concentration of active boron in the near surface region was initially up to an order of magnitude less than the bulk concentration determined from four-probe measurements, but increased with the temperature of an anneal in ambient air and approached the bulk value. In contrast, the wafers with epitaxial layers showed no consistent variations of surface dopant concentration with temperature. These results confirmed previous findings that the near surface region of the polished wafers is contaminated with metals introduced during polishing operations. The SCP method was found to be very effective in monitoring variations in active boron concentration in the near-surface region.