Phosphorus diffusion and deactivation during SiGe oxidation

Chappel S. Thornton, Xiao Shen, Blair Tuttle, Xuebin Li, Mark E. Law, Sokrates T. Pantelides, George T. Wang, Kevin S. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dopant profiles near the semiconductor-oxide interface are critical for microelectronic device performance. As the incorporation of Si1-xGex into transistors continues to increase, it is necessary to understand the behavior of dopants in Si1-xGex. In this paper, the diffusion and electrical activation of phosphorus within a strained, single-crystal Si0.7Ge0.3 layer on Si during oxidation are reported. Both layers were uniformly doped, in situ, with an average phosphorus concentration of 4 × 1019 atoms/cm3. After high-temperature oxidation, secondary ion mass spectrometry measurements revealed that the bulk of the phosphorus diffuses out of only the SiGe layer and segregates at the oxidizing SiGe-SiO2 interface. Hall effect measurements corroborate the observed phosphorus loss and show that the phosphorus diffusing to the oxidizing interface is electrically inactive. Through density functional theory (DFT) calculations, it is shown that phosphorus interstitials prefer sites near the SiGe-SiO2 interface. Finally, based on a combination of experimental data and DFT calculations, we propose that the phosphorus atoms are displaced from their lattice sites by Ge interstitials that are generated during SiGe oxidation. The phosphorus atoms then migrate toward the SiGe-SiO2 interface through a novel mechanism of hopping between Ge sites as P-Ge split interstitials. Once they reach the interface, they are electrically inactive, potentially in the form of interstitial clusters or as part of the reconstructed interface or oxide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number135301
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number13
StatePublished - Apr 7 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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