The use of thin nitride/oxide (NO) stacked dielectrics is common in DRAM storage node structures today. The cell capacitance can be increased without increasing the cell plate area by decreasing the thickness of the dielectric. Combinations of novel storage node structures, textured electrode surfaces, and very thin NO films (equivalent oxide thickness equal <30 Angstroms) are being characterized for use in 256 Mb and 1 Gb DRAM devices as an alternative to premature use of high k dielectric materials. However, the native oxide formed on the surface of the polysilicon bottom electrode prior to dielectric nitride deposition in a standard LPCVD furnace reactor causes the leakage current and reliability properties of the dielectric to degrade for very thin films. Using a vacuum load-locked RTCVD single-wafer reactor with appropriate in situ ammonia and hydrogen pre-deposition surface conditioning, the native oxide can be eliminated and very thin nitride films of much higher quality can be deposited. A comparison between standard batch LPCVD processing and single-wafer RTCVD for silicon nitride deposition has been done and electrical characteristics (including leakage current and time dependent dielectric breakdown) of the films have been measured. These results indicate that use of NO dielectric films may be extended 1–2 more generations of DRAM devices. This will allow more time for improving the quality of high k dielectric films.