Investigating and Fabricating High-K (Al2O3) and Ferroelectric (HfO2) MIM-Capacitors for use in BEOL Fabrication Applications

University essay from KTH/Skolan för elektroteknik och datavetenskap (EECS)

Abstract: Integration of high-K Metal-Insulator-Metal (MIM) capacitors in the Back-end-of-line (BEOL) is a topic of interest for the further development of the process at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. MIM-capacitors benefit from having constant capacitance values over a range of voltages and/or frequencies. One significant limitation in the development of better MIM-capacitors is the temperature consideration for BEOL processes. For the process at KTH Institute of Technology the temperature should not exceed 600 °C, as this would damage underlying devices. This work aims to fabricate aluminium oxide MIM-capacitors as a standard BEOL process performed at low temperature, which has been achieved via atomic layer deposition (ALD). The fabricated aluminium oxide MIM-capacitors had a good quality factor, series resistance and low dissipation. The capacitance for a 10 nm thick aluminium oxide insulator layer was 1 µF/cm2, which exceeds the set requirement. This work also aimed to make ferroelectric aluminium doped hafnium oxide MIM-capacitors using ALD. The doping ratio was varied in ALD as this had been found to affect formation of the ferroelectric crystal phase after a rapid thermal annealing step. Three wafers of 20 nm thick hafnium oxide and differing ratios were found to not be ferroelectric. The intermediate doping ratio was found to appear slightly anti-ferroelectric. A 10 nm thick doped hafnium oxide of intermediate doping was also fabricated and was found to be ferroelectric with a remnant polarisation of 1 µC/cm2. Though this polarisation is relatively small, it shows that top electrode induced strain due to lattice mismatch could be responsible for the ferroelectric properties of the capacitor. The quality of the hafnium based capacitors seemed worse in comparison to the aluminium oxide capacitors, which is suspected to be due to oxygen vacancies, resulting in a high loss tangent. While this first experiment showed promising results, the ferroelectric remnant polarisation should be increased by an order of magnitude and the electrical benchmark values should be improved before these hafnium oxide MIM-capacitors can be used in the BEOL process. 

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