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+EXI0IEOEKI

For sub-micrometer devices, due to smaller oxide thickness, there is

significant conductance being measured on the gate contact. The finite

gate current gives rise to the following effects:

Negative => degradation in the device operating characteristics with

time due to oxide charging; larger off-state power dissipation

Positive => non-volatile memories utilize the gate current to program

and erase charge on the "floating contact¨ ÷ FLASH, FLOTOX,

EEPROM

There are two different types of conduction mechanisms to the insulator

layer:

Tunneling: Fowler-Nordheim or direct tunneling process

Hot-carrier injection: lucky electron model or Concannon model

Electron is emitted into the oxide

when it gains sufficient energy to

overcome the insulator/semicon-

ductor barrier.

· Similar to the lucky electron model, but

assumes non-Maxwellian high energy tail on

the distribution function.

· Requires solution of the energy balance

equation for carrier temperature.

TunneIing Currents

Three types of tunneling processes are schematically shown below

(courtesy of D. K. Schroder)

· For t

ox

40 Å, Fowler-Nordheim (FN) tunneling dominates

· For t

ox

< 40 Å, direct tunneling becomes important

· I

dir

> I

FN

at a given V

ox

when direct tunneling active

· For given electric field: - I

FN

independent of oxide thickness

- I

dir

depends on oxide thickness

J JJ J

&

:

S\

"J JJ J

&

:

S\

!J JJ J

&

:

S\

J JJ J

&

FN FN/Direct Direct

X

S\

J JJ J

&

:

S\

"J JJ J

&

:

S\

!J JJ J

&

:

S\

J JJ J

&

FN FN/Direct Direct

X

S\

Significance of Gate Leakage

Technology Generation (nm)

I

on

I

G

I

off

As oxide thickness decreases, the gate current becomes more

important. It eventually dominates the off-state leakage current (-

D

at

:

G

= 0 V)

The drain current -

(

as a function of technology generation is shown

below (courtesy of D. K. Schroder)

FowIer-Nordheim TunneIing

0

E

F

*

B

0

E

F

*

B

a

No applied bias With applied bias

- I)\

\-axis

The difference between the Fermi level and the top of the barrier is

denoted by *

B

According to WKB approximation, the tunneling coefficient through this

triangular barrier equals to:

K

E

H\ \ 8

I\T where: I)\

Q

\

&

* ! K

**FowIer-Nordheim TunneIing
**

The final expression for the

Fowler-Nordheim tunneling

coefficient is:

Important notes:

The above expression

explains tunneling process

only qualitatively because

the additional attraction of

the electron back to the plate

is not included

Due to surface

imperfections, the surface

field changes and can make

large difference in the results

*

I)

Q

8

&

I\T

CaIcuIated and experimentaI tunneI

current characteristics for uItra-thin oxide

Iayers.

(M. Depas et al., Solid State Electronics, Vol.

38, No. 8, pp. 1465-1471, 1995)

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