Nonlinear optical characterization of advanced electronic materials
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Continuous downscaling of transistor size has been the major trend of the semiconductor industry for the past half century. In recent years, however, fundamental physical limits to continued downscaling were encountered. In order to overcome these limits, the industry experimented --- and continues to experiment --- with many new materials and architectures. Non-invasive, in-line methods of characterizing critical properties of these structures are in demand. This dissertation develops optical second-harmonic generation (SHG) to characterize performance-limiting defects, band alignment or strain distribution in four advanced electronic material systems of current interest: (1) Hot carrier injection (HCI) is a key determinant of the reliability of ultrathin silicon-on-insulator (SOI) devices. We show that time-dependent electrostatic-field-induced SHG probes HCI from SOI films into both native and buried oxides without device fabrication. (2) Band offsets between advanced high-k gate dielectrics and their substrates govern performance-limiting leakage currents, and elucidate interfacial bond structure. We evaluate band offsets of as-deposited and annealed Al₂O₃, HfO₂ and BeO films with Si using internal photoemission techniques. (3) Epi-GaAs films grown on Si combine the high carrier mobility and superior optical properties of III-V semiconductors with the established Si platform, but are susceptible to formation of anti-phase boundary (APB) defects. We show that SHG in reflection from APB-laden epi-films is dramatically weaker than from control layers without APBs. Moreover, scanning SHG images of APB-rich layers reveal microstructure lacking in APB-free layers. These findings are attributed to the reversal in sign of the second-order nonlinear optical susceptibility [chi]⁽²⁾ between neighboring anti-phase domains, and demonstrate that SHG characterizes APBs sensitively, selectively and non-invasively. (4) 3D integration --- i.e. connecting vertically stacked chips with metal through-Si-vias (TSVs) --- is an important new approach for improving performance at the inter-chip level, but thermal stress of the TSVs on surrounding Si can compromise reliability. We present scanning SHG images for different polarization combinations and azimuthal orientations that reveal the sensitivity of SHG to strain fields surrounding TSVs. Taken together, these results demonstrate that SHG can identify performance-limiting defects and important material properties quickly and non-invasively for advanced MOSFET device applications.