Influence of frequency and gamma irradiation on the electrical characteristics of Er2O3, Gd2O3, Yb2O3, and HfO2 MOS-based devices


JOURNAL OF MATERIALS SCIENCE, vol.55, no.19, pp.7999-8040, 2020 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 55 Issue: 19
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10853-020-04531-8
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aerospace Database, Applied Science & Technology Source, Chimica, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, Computer & Applied Sciences, INSPEC, Metadex, Public Affairs Index, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.7999-8040


The unique physical, chemical, and electronic properties of rare earth oxides have been of immense interest to replace SiO2 as a dielectric material in metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS)-based sensors applications to accurately measure the radiation dosage and increase sensor sensitivities in as diverse applications as space radiation, nuclear physics, medical diagnostics, radiation cancer therapy, and personal dosimetry devices. Hence, the electrical characteristics of oxides prior to and after irradiation of MOS-based devices are needed since they are the backbone of the devices such as MOSFETs and ICs. In addition, an understanding of the behaviour of high-k dielectric oxides in an MOS configuration is necessary since the radiation-induced damage occurs in the bulk oxide film and/or near the oxide-semiconductor interface resulting in creation of lattice defects. Hence, MOS structures with the rare earth oxides of Er2O3, Gd2O3, Yb 2 O3, and a transition metal oxide of HfO2 were produced by RF magnetron sputtering to determine (a) the structure of the films, (b) dielectric constants, (c) capacitance versus voltage behaviour of Er2O3, Gd2O3, Yb2O3, and HfO2 prior to and after irradiation of the devices in the dose range of 0-76 Gy. The experimental results were analysed with a theoretical framework on the energy band diagram and the radiation effects on the electrical characteristics of the MOS capacitors. The characteristics of the devices were evaluated by using effective oxide charge density (QEFF), variation in the oxide trapped charge density (DNox), and interface trapped charge density (DNit). In addition, barrier height (/b), image force barrier lowering (D/b), acceptor concentration (Na) were calculated before and after irradiation and examined the nature of interface states. The radiation responses of the Er2O3 and HfO2 MOS capacitors did not show a stable behaviour with an increase in radiation dose due to possible neutral electron trap centres. Contrary to expectations, we infer that more negative charges are trapped in Gd2O3-based device than positive charges with an increase in radiation dose. The C-V curves of the Yb2O3 MOS capacitor shifted in the same direction at both 100 kHz and 1 MHz, and as expected, positive charge traps in the structure are more efficient than negative charges. The observed sensitivities of Yb2O3 MOS capacitors are 4-7 times higher than those of SiO2, and the sensitivities of the Yb2O3 MOS capacitors with a total radiation dose of 70 Gy were found to be around 28.08 mV/Gy at both 100 kHZ and 1 MHz frequencies. The Yb2O3 appears to be a promising dielectric candidate for developing a new generation of radiation sensors with an excellent interface quality when compared to rare earth mixed oxides such as silicates, transition metal oxides, and the silicates based on transition metals, Al2O3, and BiFeO3. Our review of the literature suggests that while the radiation damage has been assessed comprehensively based on the C-V characteristics, microstructural characterization of the irradiated films and their interfaces is lacking even though the quality of oxide/Si interface is the most important feature of the devices. The electrical data should be correlated with the inferences from XPS, AFM, TEM, XRD, and other techniques.