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Atom-Probe Tomography of Semiconductor Materials and Device Structures

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 March 2012

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The development of laser-assisted atom-probe tomography (APT) analysis and new sample preparation approaches have led to significant advances in the characterization of semiconductor materials and device structures by APT. The high chemical sensitivity and three-dimensional spatial resolution of APT makes it uniquely capable of addressing challenges resulting from the continued shrinking of semiconductor device dimensions, the integration of new materials and interfaces, and the optimization of evolving fabrication processes. Particularly pressing concerns include the variability in device performance due to discrete impurity atom distributions, the phase and interface stability in contacts and gate dielectrics, and the validation of simulations of impurity diffusion. This overview of APT of semiconductors features research on metal-silicide contact formation and phase control, silicon field-effect transistors, and silicon and germanium nanowires. Work on silicide contacts to silicon is reviewed to demonstrate impurity characterization in small volumes and indicate how APT can facilitate defect mitigation and process optimization. Impurity contour analysis of a pFET semiconductor demonstrates the site-specificity that is achievable with current APTs and highlights complex device challenges that can be uniquely addressed. Finally, research on semiconducting nanowires and nanowire heterostructures demonstrates the potential for analysis of materials derived from bottom-up synthesis methods.

Copyright © Materials Research Society 2009

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