Investigation of Surface and Interface Morphology of Thermally Grown SiO2 Dielectrics on 4H-SiC(0001) Substrates
Surface and interface morphology of thermal oxides grown on 4-off (0001) oriented 4H-SiC substrates by dry O2 oxidation was investigated using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). When step bunching was present on a starting wafer, oxide surface roughness was much larger than that of the starting 4H-SiC surface. This is attributed to the difference in oxidation rate between the terrace and the step face. A step-terrace structure on 4H-SiC(0001) was mostly preserved on the oxide surface, but pronounced oxidation occurred around the step bunching. Cross-sectional TEM observation showed that the SiO2/4H-SiC interface became smoother than the initial surface and the thickness of the SiO2 layer fluctuated. Such SiO2 thickness fluctuation may cause a local electric field concentration when a voltage was applied to the oxide, thus degrading the dielectric breakdown characteristics of 4H-SiC metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) devices.
Edouard V. Monakhov, Tamás Hornos and Bengt. G. Svensson
T. Hosoi et al., "Investigation of Surface and Interface Morphology of Thermally Grown SiO2 Dielectrics on 4H-SiC(0001) Substrates", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 679-680, pp. 342-345, 2011