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Germanium layer transfer and device fabrication for monolithic 3D integration

Time: Fri 2021-05-21 13.00

Location: zoom link for online defense (English)

Doctoral student: Ahmad Abedin , Elektronik och inbyggda system, Electronics

Opponent: Professor Cor Claeys,

Supervisor: Professor Mikael Östling, Elektronik och inbyggda system


Monolithic three-dimensional (M3D) integration, it has been proposed,can overcome the limitations of further circuits’ performance improvementand functionality expansion. The emergence of the internet of things (IoT) isdriving the semiconductor industry toward the fabrication of higher-performancecircuits with diverse functionality. On the one hand, the scaling of devices isreaching critical dimensions, which makes their further downscaling techno-logically difficult and economically challenging, whereas, on the other hand,the field of electronics is no longer limited only to developing circuits thatare meant for data processing. Sensors, processors, actuators, memories, andeven power storage units need to be efficiently integrated into a single chip tomake IoT work. M3D integration through stacking different layers of deviceson each other can potentially improve circuits’ performance by shorteningthe wiring length and reducing the interconnect delay. Using multiple tiersfor device fabrication makes it possible to integrate different materials withsuperior physical properties. It offers the advantage of fabricating higher-performance devices with multiple functionalities on a single chip. However,high-quality layer transfer and processing temperature budget are the majorchallenges in M3D integration. This thesis involves an in-depth explorationof the application of germanium (Ge) in monolithic 3D integration.Ge has been recognized as one of the most promising materials that canreplace silicon (Si) as the channel material for p-type field-effect transistors(pFETs) because of its high hole mobility. Ge pFETs can be fabricated atsubstantially lower temperatures compared to Si devices which makes theformer a good candidate for M3D integration. However, the fabrication ofhigh-quality Ge-on-insulator (GOI) layers with superior thickness homogene-ity, low residual doping, and a sufficiently good interface with buried oxide(BOX) has been challenging.This thesis used low-temperature wafer bonding and etch-back techniquesto fabricate the GOI substrate for M3D applications. For this purpose, aunique stack of epitaxial layers was designed and fabricated. The layer stackcontains a Ge strain relaxed buffer (SRB) layer, a SiGe layer to be used asan etch stop, and a top Ge layer to be transferred to the handling wafer.The wafers were bonded at room temperature, and the sacrificial wafer wasremoved through multiple etching steps leaving 20 nm Ge on the insulatorwith excellent thickness homogeneity over the wafer. Ge pFET devices werefabricated on the GOI substrates and electrically characterized to evaluatethe layer quality. Finally, the epitaxial growth of the highly doped SiGeand sub-nm Si cap layers have been investigated as alternatives for improvedperformance Ge pFETs.The Ge buffer layer was developed through the two-step deposition tech-nique resulting in defect density of107cm−3and surface roughness of 0.5 nm.The fully strainedSi0.5Ge0.5film with high crystal quality was epitaxiallygrown at temperatures below 450°C. The layer was sandwiched between theGe buffer and the top 20 nm Ge layer to be used as an etch-stop in the etch- back process. A highly selective etching method was developed to remove the3μm Ge buffer and 10nm SiGe film without damaging the 20 nm transferringGe layer.The Ge pFETs were fabricated at temperatures below 600°C so that theycould be compatible with the M3D integration. The back interface of thedevices depleted atVBG= 0V, which confirmed the small density of fixedcharges at the Ge/BOX interface along with a low level of residual doping inthe Ge channel. The Ge pFETs with 70 % yield over the whole wafer showed60 % higher carrier mobility than Si reference devices.Low-temperature epitaxial growth of Si passivation layer on Ge was de-veloped in this thesis. For electrical evaluation of the passivation layer,metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) capacitors were fabricated and character-ized. The capacitors showed an interface trap density of3×1011eV−1cm−2,and hysteresis as low as 3 mV at Eox of 4MV/cm corresponding to oxide trapdensity of1.5×1010cm−2. The results indicate that this Si passivation layersubstantially improves the gate dielectric by reducing the subthreshold slopeof Ge devices while increasing their reliability. The in-situ doped SiGe layerwith a dopant concentration of2.5×1019cm−3and resistivity of 3.5 mΩcmwas selectively grown on Ge to improve the junction formation.The methods developed in this thesis are suitable for large-scale M3Dintegration of Ge pFET devices on the Si platform. The unique Ge layertransfer and etch-back techniques resulted in the fabrication of GOI substrateswith high thickness homogeneity, low residual doping, and sufficiently goodGe/BOX interface. The process temperatures for Ge transfer and pFETsfabrication are kept within the range of the M3D budget. Integration of theSi cap for gate dielectric formation and SiGe layers in the source/drain regionmay increase device performance and reliability