Atomic Layer Deposited Tantalum Silicate on Crystallographically-Oriented Epitaxial Germanium: Interface Chemistry and Band Alignment


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Royal Society of Chemistry


The interface chemistry and energy band alignment properties of atomic layer deposited (ALD) tantalum silicate (TaSiOx) dielectrics on crystallographically-oriented, epitaxial (001)Ge, (110)Ge, and (111)Ge thin-films, grown on GaAs substrates by molecular beam epitaxy, were investigated. The ALD process, consisting of a 6 : 1 Ta : Si precursor super-cycle, was analyzed via sputter depth-dependent elemental analysis utilizing X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The XPS investigations revealed uniform Si incorporation throughout the TaSiOx dielectric, and a measurable amount of cross-diffusion between Ge and Ta atomic species in the vicinity of the oxide/semiconductor heterointerface. The formation of a thin SiO2 interfacial oxide, through the intentional pre-pulsing of the Si precursor prior to the Si : Ta super-cycle process, was observed via cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy analysis. Moreover, the bandgap of Ta-rich Ta0.8Si0.2Ox dielectrics, analyzed using the photoelectron energy loss technique centered on the O 1s binding energy spectra, was determined to be in the range of 4.62 eV-4.66 eV (±0.06 eV). Similarly, the XPS-derived valence band and conduction band offsets (ΔEV and ΔEC, respectively) were found to be ΔEV > 3.0 ± 0.1 eV and ΔEC > 0.6 ± 0.1 eV for the (001)Ge, (110)Ge, and (111)Ge orientations, promoting the increased carrier confinement necessary for reducing operational and off-state leakage current in metal-oxide-semiconductor devices. Thus, the empirical TaSiOx/Ge interfacial energy band offsets, coupled with the uniform dielectric deposition observed herein, provides key guidance for the integration of TaSiOx dielectrics with Ge-based field-effect transistors targeting ultra-low power logic applications.