A study of HfO₂-based MOSCAPs and MOSFETs on III-V substrates with a thin germanium interfacial passivation layer
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Since metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) devices have been adopted into integrated circuits, the endless demands for higher performance and lower power consumption have been a primary challenge and a technology-driver in the semiconductor electronics. The invention of complementary MOS (CMOS) technology in the 1980s, and the introduction of voltage and physical dimension scaling in the 1990s would be good examples to keep up with the everlasting demands. In the 2000s, technology continuously evolves and seeks for more power efficiency ways such as high-k dielectrics, metal gate electrodes, strained substrates, and high mobility channel materials. As a gate dielectric, silicon dioxide (SiO₂), most widely used in CMOS integrated circuits, has many prominent advantages, including a high quality interface (e.g. Dit ~ low 1010 cm-2eV-1), a good thermal stability in contact with silicon (Si), a large energy bandgap and the large energy band offsets in reference to Si, and a high quality dielectric itself. As the thickness of SiO₂ keeps shrinking, however, SiO₂ is facing its physical limitations from the viewpoint of gate dielectric leakage currents and reliability requirements. High-k dielectric materials have attracted extensive attention in the last decade due to their great potential for maintaining further down-scaling in equivalent oxide thickness (EOT) and a low dielectric leakage current. HfO₂ has been considered as one of the most promising candidates because of a high dielectric constant (k ~ 20-25), a large energy band gap (~ 6 eV) and the large band offsets (> 1.5 eV), and a good thermal stability. To enhance carrier mobility, strained substrates and high mobility channel materials have attracted a great deal of attention, thus III-V compound semiconductor substrates have emerged as one of possible candidates, in spite of several technical barriers, being believed as barriers so far. The absence of high quality and thermodynamically stable native oxide, like SiO₂ on Si, has been one such hurdle to implement MOS systems on III-V substrates. However, recently, there have been a number of remarkable improvements on MOS applications on them, inspiring more vigorous research activities. In this research, HfO2-based MOS capacitors and metal-oxidesemiconductor field effect transistors (MOSFETs) with a thin germanium (Ge) interfacial passivation layer (IPL) on III-V compound substrates were investigated. It was found that a thin Ge IPL could effectively passivate the surface of III-V substrate, consequently providing a high quality interface and an excellent gate oxide scalability. N-channel MOSFETs on GaAs, InGaAs, and InP substrates were successfully demonstrated and a minimum EOT of ~ 9 Å from MOS capacitors was achieved. This research has begun with GaAs substrate, and then expanded to InGaAs, InP, InAs, and InSb substrates, which eventually helped to understand the role of a Ge IPL and to guide future research direction. Overall, MOS devices on III-V substrates with an HfO₂ gate dielectric and a Ge IPL have demonstrated feasibility and potential for further investigations.