Macroscopic and microscopic studies of electrical properties of very thin silicon dioxide subject to electrical stress

E. S. Daniel, J. T. Jones, O. J. Marsh, T. C. McGill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


The electrical characteristics of various size tunnel switch diode devices, composed of Al/SiO2/n-Si/p + -Si layers, which operate with a range of parameters (such as current densities in excess of 104 A/cm2) that stress the oxide layer far beyond the levels used in typical thin oxide metal-oxide semiconductor research have been examined. It is found that the first time a large current and electric field are applied to the device, a "forming" process enhances transport through the oxide in the vicinity of the edges of the gate electrode, but the oxide still retains its integrity as a tunnel barrier. The device operation is relatively stable to stresses of greater than 107 C/cm2 areally averaged, time-integrated charge injection. Duplication and characterization of these modified oxide tunneling properties was attempted using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) to stress and probe the oxide. Electrical stressing with the STM tip creates regions of reduced conductivity, possibly resulting from trapped charge in the oxide. Lateral variations in the conductivity of the unstressed oxide over regions roughly 20-50 nm across were also found.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1089-1096
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Vacuum Science and Technology B: Microelectronics and Nanometer Structures
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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