/Kelvin probe microscopy for the analysis of thin oxide reliability

Kelvin probe microscopy for the analysis of thin oxide reliability

Research & development - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

You study most advanced nanoelectronics materials stacks by means of scanning probe microscopy techniques.

For faster, smaller, and lower power electronics new gate stacks are continuously developed using thin high-k layers, in combinations with integration processes that improve transistor reliability while maintaining good channel electrostatic. However, with the continuous reduction of the oxide thickness and increase of the electric field, oxide reliability issues have become a major challenge in advanced devices. While established techniques exist for the characterization of oxide reliability in integrated devices, a direct method for the assessment of oxide quality after growth

is still missing. In this project we want to explore Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM) for the analysis of oxide reliability in advanced gate stacks, with emphasis on correlation between materials and devices properties. The ambition of this project is to develop a methodology which can be compared with standard electrical characterization of thin oxide, including time-dependent breakdown (TTBD) and bias temperature instability (BTI), thus translating into scanning probe microscopy a rapid method for screening the impact of process conditions on the final oxide performance when integrated (e.g., dielectric strength, traps density and lifetime).


This internship/thesis fits into the framework correlative analysis for advanced devices using electrical SPMs. You will be trained in the use of different scanning probe microscopes and data analysis. The off-line data analysis will cover an important part of the work, you will apply statistical principles for data interpretation and will be asked to rule out your results. You will work in an international R&D team; a good command of English language is required. 


  • We are looking for your excellent communication skills in English, as you will work in a multicultural team.

Type of project: Internship, Thesis, Combination of internship and thesis

Duration: 6 months

Required degree: Master of Science

Required background: Nanoscience & Nanotechnology, Physics, Electrotechnics/Electrical Engineering

Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Umberto Celano (Umberto.Celano@imec.be)

Imec allowance will be provided.