Moving towards high carrier mobility power devices in silicon and silicon carbide

Rossmann, Harald R.. Moving towards high carrier mobility power devices in silicon and silicon carbide. 2016, Doctoral Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Science.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/diss/DissB_11785

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This thesis reports on recent progress regarding the characterization, design and fabrication of modern power semiconductor devices in Silicon (Si) as well as in the promising wide band gap material Silicon Carbide (SiC). Up to now, state of the art power devices are architectured on the basis of monocrystalline Si-wafers. This is due to the high material quality of Si in combination with the availability of a mature and reliable fabrication
technology based on a well-established process library. However, more and more sophisticated device designs such as e.g. the Super-Junction (SJ) architecture require
an increasing number of fabrication steps therefore increasing the amount of possible sources of error. Further, more complex three-dimensional dopant distribution profiles are needed for the devices to withstand the high blocking voltage demands of current
power semiconductor applications when operated in reverse direction. This dopant distribution has to be monitored, at least for control samples, after implantation, after
further thermal processes and during the duty cycle. To ensure reliable device operation, in particular for charge compensated devices, this monitoring or mapping has to
be performed locally with high precision and sensitivity.
In this work complementary Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) based methods like: Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy (KPFM), Scanning Capacitance Force Microscopy (SCFM)
and Scanning Spreading Resistance Microscopy (SSRM) have been explored for a precise monitoring of carrier concentration profiles. This is due to the fact that so far none of the established industrial techniques such as e.g. Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS)
or Spreading Resistance Probe (SRP) was mature enough to simultaneously full-fill all the major requirements of the semiconductor industry in terms of spatial resolution,
sensitivity, reproducibility and the ability to quantify dopant concentrations. Further, SIMS is probing the chemical composition rather than the charge carrier distribution. To ‘look inside’ the inhomogeneously doped sample, smooth device cross-sections need to be prepared in a reliable manner and without distorting the ‘as implanted/activated’ dopant profile. In this way artefacts arising from a topographic signal can be ruled out.
For Si the easiest way would be to cleave the wafer along a certain crystallographic direction. However, since the SPM methods presented here shall serve as a characterization
tool with a general validity another approach that is also suitable for different crystal structures and materials with a hardness close to diamond had to be found. For this
reason a chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) procedure had been developed at PSI. This process was optimized for maintaining a low surface state density as it is important
to avoid a complete pinning of the Fermi level for the KPFM measurements. The subsequent Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) imaging has been performed in collaboration with the experts in the research group of Prof. Ernst Meyer at the University of Basel. Within this project it has been demonstrated that every SPM derived method is capable
to qualitatively map carrier concentrations down to an unprecedented low regime. However, a difference regarding the lateral resolution was observed which can be understood
by different information depths depending on the underlying physical quantity to be measured together with an imperfect surface preparation which is leading to an accumulation or depletion of defects at the surface. The most critical technique in that sense - due to its high surface sensitivity - is the contact potential difference measurement that is utilized by KPFM to draw conclusions on the carrier concentration. By laser illumination of the sample during the KPFM experiment a Surface Photo Voltage
(SPV) occurs in a surface near layer with a thickness in the order of the minority carrier diffusion length. Thus, the surface sensitivity is reduced and the signal distortion due to the unfavourable influence of surface defects gets less pronounced. Even though SCFM is also based on the detection of the electrostatic force that develops between the tip and the sample, this method is less affected by the surface because it is probing a different physical quantity, namely the total capacitance of the rather extended oxide/depletion layer capacitance system. Furthermore, the magnitude of the SCFM signal scales inverse proportionally with respect to the carrier concentration, hence this method is theoretically
offering the highest sensitivity in the low concentration regime. Nevertheless, a quantification scheme for this technique is still in development and further work on locally acquired spectroscopic capacitance-voltage (C-V ) measurements is needed towards a reliable quantification procedure. The third SPM derived method SSRM, is operated
in contact mode under high normal forces to ensure that the spreading resistance is the dominant resistance contribution for the current flowing between the tip and the
sample. Under these circumstances the local carrier concentration and its impact on the magnitude and the sign of the output current can be investigated in a very accurate and quantitative manner. Beside that, the high mechanical forces cause an abrasive motion of the tip while scanning the sample. This feature is beneficial in two ways: on one hand the native oxide and the underlying defect-rich surface layer are removed while on the
other hand a phase transformation of a tiny sample volume just below the tip occurs which locally decreases the resistivity and increases the spatial resolution. Hence, the
SSRM technique is showing a high degree of reproducibility and is therefore ideal for quantitative studies.
As mentioned above the considerable complexity of the fabrication process and the limited material properties of Si in terms of a high critical electric field and a high
thermal conductivity accelerated the search for novel substrates for power semiconductor applications. Beside offering an order of magnitude higher critical electric field due to its wide band gap (WBG), SiC also attracted attention since it can be thermally oxidized
resulting in a silicon dioxide (SiO2) layer as its native oxide. Therefore, this material has been classified as most promising and theoretical improvements of a - by a factor
of 400 - lower ON-resistance have been calculated. However, to date SiC devices are facing other problems related to the engineering of dopant profiles and the more complex
nature of the oxidation process which limit their performance and hinder their large-scale commercialization.
The incorporation of a specific dopant distribution in SiC is most effectively done by an ion implantation process followed by a high temperature annealing step which is needed to restore the crystal structure after implantation-induced damage and to electronically activate the dopant atoms. This is caused by the fact that in SiC due to its wide band gap of 2.4-3.2 eV (depending on its poly-type) basically no dopant diffusion at reasonable thermal budgets occurs. Notably, not all of these dopant atoms are ionized
and contribute to the electric conduction within the semiconductor. Especially the hole concentration p and the acceptor concentration NA can differ significantly in SiC
due to the large ionization energies. Hence it has to be taken into account that the final performance of a SiC power device might be inferior to the expected performance
from the implantation parameters. This behaviour is in clear contrast to Si where at room temperature basically all donor and acceptor atoms are ionized and no further
differentiation between the dopant and the carrier (electronically active dopant) profile has to be made. The above mentioned SPM methods are sensitive to the carrier rather than to the dopant profile and within this work it has been demonstrated that e.g. the p-doped guard ring structure of a SiC Schottky diode which is shielding the metal contact from high electric fields that occur under reverse bias operation can be resolved.
Another challenge for SiC Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor (MOSFET) devices are low carrier mobilities inside the thin conducting channel at the semiconductor/oxide interface and threshold voltage instabilities. Due to the more complex nature of the oxidation process which requires the removal of carbon atoms in the form of CO or CO2 from the SiC crystal the SiC/SiO2 interface is showing a high density of interface trap states that act as scattering centres and degrade the carrier mobility. Hence, experimentally observed charge carrier mobilities are by a factor of 10 below the theoretical value of the bulk material. Thereby the ON-resistance which is inverse proportional to the mobility is increased which is leading to a higher amount of power
dissipation in the ON-state of the device. Unsurprisingly, a lot of research effort has been triggered in this direction resulting in breakthrough called post-oxidation annealing (POA) under gaseous ambients. Nitrogen and phosphorous based chemistries have shown a passivating effect on the density of interface trap states. However, the origin of this mechanism is not yet fully understood. A possible explanation is a counter-doping effect within a thin layer at the semiconductor surface. A second - maybe easier - pathway to increase the channel mobility is the utilization of the crystal anisotropy. The mobility strongly depends on the orientation of the channel
with respect to the crystallographic axis. Among them the 1120 direction exhibits the highest mobility. In the here presented project this approach has been utilized to improve
the device performance without changing too many parameters regarding the oxidation or post-oxidation treatments at the same time. In this case the remaining challenge was
to develop an etching process which is able to etch several um deep trenches into SiC and to precisely control the shape of the resulting trench profile. It has been demonstrated that sharp corners that would cause field crowding at the edges can be eliminated by the usage of very small DC biases applied between the electrode of the plasma chamber and the substrate. Furthermore, the steepness of the sidewalls could be controlled by
the composition of the plasma gas flows. Contrary to previous reports we found that the addition of oxygen to the dry etching process is not helping to avoid microtrenching. Either a pure SF6 based process or an SF6 based process with the addition of Ar have shown the best results. With this success a full manufacturing cycle for a nanoscale trench MOSFET has been designed.
Advisors:Jung, Thomas A. and Poggio, Martino
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Physik > Physik > Experimentalphysik Nanoelektronik (Schönenberger)
UniBasel Contributors:Jung, Thomas A. and Poggio, Martino
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis Subtype:Doctoral Thesis
Thesis no:11785
Thesis status:Complete
Number of Pages:1 Online-Ressource (xvii, 105 Seiten)
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edoc DOI:
Last Modified:27 Feb 2018 13:19
Deposited On:28 Sep 2016 08:03

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