Monitoring Plasma-Process Induced Damage in Thin Oxide

Hyungcheol Shin, Chen-Ming Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Plasma etching and resist ashing processes cause current to flow through the thin oxide and the resultant plasma-induced damage can be simulated and modeled as damage produced by constant current electrical stress. The oxide charging current produced by plasma processing increases with the “antenna” size of the device structure. Oxide charge measurement such as CV or threshold voltage is a more sensitive technique for characterizing plasma-processing induced damage than oxide breakdown. The oxide charging current is collected only through the aluminum surfaces not covered by the photoresist during plasma processes. Although forming gas anneal can passivate the traps generated during plasma etching, subsequent Fowler-Nordheim stressing causes more traps to be generated in these devices than in devices that have not been through plasma etching. Using the measured charging current, the breakdown voltage distribution of oxides after plasma processes can be predicted accurately. Oxide shorts density of a single large test capacitor is found to be higher than that in a multiple of separated small capacitors having the same total oxide area. This would lead to overly pessimistic oxide defect data unless care is taken.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-102
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Semiconductor Manufacturing
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1993

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