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Progress in the understanding of Ni silicide formation for advanced MOS structures



Metallic silicides have been used as contact materials on source/drain and gate in metal-oxide semiconductor (MOS) structure for 40 years. Since the 65 nm technology node, NiSi is the preferred material for contact in microelectronic due to low resistivity, low thermal budget, and low Si consumption. Ni(Pt)Si with 10 at.% Pt is currently employed in recent technologies since Pt allows to stabilize NiSi at high temperature. The presence of Pt and the very low thickness (<10 nm) needed for the device contacts bring new concerns for actual devices. In this work, in situ techniques [X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray reflectivity (XRR), sheet resistance, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC)] were combined with atom probe tomography (APT) to study the formation mechanisms as well as the redistribution of dopants and alloy elements (Pt, Pd…) during the silicide formation. Phenomena like nucleation, lateral growth, interfacial reaction, diffusion, precipitation, and transient phase formation are investigated. The effect of alloy elements (Pt, Pd…) and dopants (As, B…) as well as stress and defects induced by the confinement in devices on the silicide formation mechanism and alloying element redistribution is examined. In particular APT has been performed for the three-dimensional (3D) analysis of MOSFET at the atomic scale. The advances in the understanding of the mechanisms of formation and redistribution are discussed.

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