Radiation effects in metal-oxide-semiconductor capacitors

  • John L. Collins

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


An investigation has been undertaken into the effects of various radiations on commercially made Al-SiO2-Si Capacitors (MOSCs). Detailed studies of the electrical and physical nature of such devices have been used to characterise both virgin and irradiated devices. In particular, an investigation of the nature and causes of dielectric breakdown in MOSCs has revealed that intrinsic breakdown is a two-stage process dominated by charge injection in a pre-breakdown stage; this is associated with localised high-field injection of carriers from the semiconductor substrate to interfacial and bulk charge traps which, it is proposed, leads to the formation of conducting channels through the dielectric with breakdown occurring as a result of the dissipation of the conduction band energy. A study of radiation-induced dielectric breakdown has revealed the possibility of anomalous hot-electron injection to an excess of bulk oxide traps in the ionization channel produced by very heavily ionizing radiation, which leads to intrinsic breakdown in high-field stressed devices. These findings are interpreted in terms of a modification to the model for radiation-induced dielectric breakdown based upon the primary dependence of breakdown on charge injection rather than high-field mechanisms. The results of a detailed investigation of charge trapping and interface state generation in such MOSCs due to various radiations has revealed evidence of neutron induced interface states, and of the generation of positive oxide charge in devices due to all of the radiations tested. In particular, the greater the linear energy transfer of the radiation, the greater the magnitude of charge trapped in the oxide and the greater the number of interface states generated. These findings are interpreted in terms of Si-H and Si-OH bond-breaking at the Si-SiO2 interface which is enhanced by charge carrier transfer to the interface and by anomalous charge injection to compensate for the excess of charge carriers created by the radiation.
Date of Award1987
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorP. Cooper (Supervisor)


  • radiations
  • commercially made Al-SiO2-Si Capacitors (MOSCs
  • virgin and irradiated devices
  • intrinsic breakdown
  • dielectric

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