Non-Volatile Memories (NVM) integrating silicon nanodots (noted SDs) are considered as an emerging solution to extend Flash memories downscaling. In this alternative memory technology, silicon nanocrystals act as discrete traps for injected charges.
Si-dots were grown by Low Pressure Chemical Vapor Deposition (LPCVD) on top of tunnel oxide. Depending on the pre-growth surface treatment, tunnel oxide surface may present either siloxane or silanol groups. SDs deposition relies on a 2–steps process: nucleation by SiH4 and selective growth with SiH2Cl2.
In a context of technological industrialization, it is of primary importance to develop in-line metrology tools dedicated to Si-dots growth process control. Hence, silicon-dots were observed in top view by using an in-line Critical Dimension Scanning Electron Microscopy CDSEM and their average size and density were extracted from image processing. In addition, Haze measurement, generally used for bare silicon surface characterization, was customized to quantify Si-dots deposition uniformity over the wafer. Finally, Haze value was correlated to Si nanodots density and size determined by CDSEM.