Semiconductor Glossary, Developed Semi OneSource.
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With over 2000 terms defined and explained, Semiconductor Glossary is the most complete reference in the field of semiconductors on the market today.












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Term (Index) Definition
dielectric  a solid displaying insulating properties (energy gap typically wider than about 5 eV); its upper most energy band is completely empty, hence,dielectric features extremely low conductivity; fundamental characteristics of a dielectric are independent of the applied voltage; most common dielectrics in semiconductor technology are SiO2 and Si3N4.
field oxide, FOX  relatively thick oxide (typically 100 - 500 nm) formed to passivate and protect semiconductor surface outside of active device area; part of any semiconductor device, but does not participate in device operation.
high-k dielectric  dielectric material featuring dielectric constant k higher than 3.9 which is k of SiO2; used as gate dielectric (amorphous) in MOS devices and in storage capacitors; high k increases capacitance, or keeps in unchanged at the reduced area of MOS gate and gate dielectric sufficiently thick to prevent excessive tunneling current.

Reference: See Semiconductor Notes for more information
low-k dielectric  dielectric material featuring dielectric constant k lower than 3.9 which is k of SiO2; used to insulate adjacent metal lines (interlayer dielectric, ILD) in advanced integrated circuits; low k reduces undesired capacitive coupling, and hence "cross talk", between lines.

Reference: SemiOneSource,Notes
oxide  product (in most cases a solid) of oxygen reaction with a given element; in Si processing term typically associated with SiO2.
gate oxide  a layer of very thin oxide sandwiched between semiconductor and gate contact in MOS devices; can be as thin as 1 nm in advance silicon digital integrated circuits and as thick as 70 nm in discrete power MOSFETs; typically thermally grown SiO2, often nitrided; in ultra-small geometry CMOS ICs SiO2 can be replaced with dielectrics fetauring higher than SiO2 dielectric constant.
Term (Index) Definition
dielectric relaxation time  time needed by a semiconductor to return to electrical neutrality after carrier injection or extraction.
Term (Index) Definition
gate dielectric  very thin layer of an insulator sandwiched between semiconductor and gate contact in MOS devices; in silicon technology it is typically a thermally grown SiO2, often nitrided; depending on application it can be as thin as 1.0-1.5 nm (advanced digital integrated circuits) and as thick as 50 nm (discrete power MOSFETs); in ultra-small geometry CMOS ICs SiO2 is replaced with insulators featuring higher than SiO2 dielectric constant; hafnium based dielectrics (oxide or silicate) are materials of choice in this case.
Term (Index) Definition
high-k dielectric  dielectric material featuring dielectric constant k higher than 3.9 which is k of SiO2; used as gate dielectric (amorphous) in MOS devices and in storage capacitors; high k increases capacitance, or keeps in unchanged at the reduced area of MOS gate and gate dielectric sufficiently thick to prevent excessive tunneling current.

Reference: See Semiconductor Notes for more information
alternative dielectrics  dielectrics featuring dielectric constant k > 3.9 (3.9 is a dielectric constant of SiO2)and acting as gate oxides in silicon MOS devices instead of SiO2; referred to as "high-k dielectrics"; also dielectrics featuring dielectric constant k < 3.9 and used as ILD; referred to as "low-k dielectrics".
BST  (BaSr)TiO3, barium strontium titanate, dielectric featuring high k (in the range 160-600) at thicknesses exceeding about 40 nm; displays ferroelectric properties; used in storage capacitors, can be deposited by the variety of methods including misted deposition (LSMCD), MOCVD and sputtering.
hafnium oxide, HfO2  high-k dielectric considered for next generation MOS gates; dielectric constant k ~25; limited thermal stability with silicon; thermally stable up to 700oC.
hafnium silicate, HfSiO4  high-k dielectric considered for next generation MOS gates, k~15-18; thermodynamically stable with silicon.
PZT  Lead-Zirconate-Titanate; dielectric material featuring dielectric constant k >1000.
tantalum pentoxide, Ta2O5  oxide featuring dielectric constant k ~ 25 ("high-k" dielectric); energy gap Eg=4.2 eV; considered as an alternative to SiO2 dielectric for next generation CMOS devices; not any longer, however, due to the lack of thermal stability with silicon which makes its deposition on Si substrate without formation of an excessive interfacial SiOx impossible.
titanium oxide, TiO3  dielectric material featuring dielectric constant k=20-85 ("high-k" dielectric); not thermally stable with silicon, and hence, not used as a high-k dielectric for MOS gates.
zirconuim oxide, zirconia, ZrO2  dielectric featuring dielectric constant k in the range of 20-25; thermodynamically stable with silicon but tends to crystallize at about 700 o; considered as an alternative gate dielectric for next generation MOS technology.
zirconium silicate, ZrSiO4  dielectric material featuring dielectric constant about 15; thermodynamically stable with Si; in contact with Si combines characteristics of silicon dioxide,SiO2,and zirconium oxide, ZrO2; considered to be among prime candidates for a gate dielectric in next generation CMOS devices.
Term (Index) Definition
ILD, Inter-Layer Dielectric  Inter Level Dielectric; same as Inter Layer Dielectric and IMD, dielectric material used to electrically separate closely spaced interconnect lines arranged in several levels (multilevel metallization) in an advanced integrated circuit; ILD must feature low dielectric constant k (as close to 1 as possible) to minimize capacitive coupling ("cross talk") between adjacent metal lines.

Reference: see SemiOneSource,Notes for additional information
low-k dielectric  dielectric material featuring dielectric constant k lower than 3.9 which is k of SiO2; used to insulate adjacent metal lines (interlayer dielectric, ILD) in advanced integrated circuits; low k reduces undesired capacitive coupling, and hence "cross talk", between lines.

Reference: SemiOneSource,Notes
Term (Index) Definition
low-k dielectric  dielectric material featuring dielectric constant k lower than 3.9 which is k of SiO2; used to insulate adjacent metal lines (interlayer dielectric, ILD) in advanced integrated circuits; low k reduces undesired capacitive coupling, and hence "cross talk", between lines.

Reference: SemiOneSource,Notes
interconnect  conductor (typically metal) line connecting elements of an integrated circuit; in very high density integrated circuits interconnect lines form multilevel network; in advanced silicon ICs interconnect lines as are made out of copper.
porous dielectric  porosity (air gaps) is created in ILD (Inter-Layer Dielectric)to reduce its dielectric constant.
Term (Index) Definition
negative charge dielectric  dielectric material used in the form of thin-film in semiconductor technology which features defects that are inherently predominantly negatively charged; e.g. Al2O3.
aluminum oxide, alumina, Al2O3  oxide featuring energy gap Eg ~ 5 eV and k ~8; in the form of single-crystal known as sapphire.
positive charge dielectric  dielectric material used in the form of thin-film in semiconductor technology which features defects that are inherently predominantly positively charged; e.g. SiO2.
Term (Index) Definition
porous dielectric  porosity (air gaps) is created in ILD (Inter-Layer Dielectric)to reduce its dielectric constant.
low-k dielectric  dielectric material featuring dielectric constant k lower than 3.9 which is k of SiO2; used to insulate adjacent metal lines (interlayer dielectric, ILD) in advanced integrated circuits; low k reduces undesired capacitive coupling, and hence "cross talk", between lines.

Reference: SemiOneSource,Notes
nanoglass  porous glass; porous SiO2; porosity (air gaps) are created in a material in order to reduce its dielectric constank k from k=3.9 for non-porous SiO2 to to as low as k=1.3.
Term (Index) Definition
positive charge dielectric  dielectric material used in the form of thin-film in semiconductor technology which features defects that are inherently predominantly positively charged; e.g. SiO2.
silicon dioxide, SiO2  silica; native oxide of silicon and at the same time an excellent insulator; the most common insulator in semiconductor device technology, particularly in silicon MOS/CMOS where it is use as a gate oxide; high quality films are obtained by thermal oxidation of silicon; thermal SiO2 forms smooth, low-defect interface with Si; can be also readily deposited by CVD; SiO2 performs various functions in silicon device technology which to large degree depends on outstanding characteristics of; also used in non-Si devices; Key parameters: energy gap Eg ~ 8eV, dielectric strength 5-15 x 106 V/cm depending on thickness, dielectric constant k = 3.9, density 2.3 g/cm3, refractive index n =1.46, melting point ~ 1700 oC; prone to contamination with alkali ions and sensitive to high energy radiation; in semiconductor technology used in the form amorphous thin films; single crystal SiO2 is known as quartz.
oxide fixed charge, Qf  charge in Si-SiO2 structure; located in the oxide in the immediate vicinity of Si surface; does not move and exchange charge with Si, hence, "fixed"; associated with incompletely oxidized silicon or in other words, with excess silicon; lower density at higher temperature of oxidation; can be lowered by post-oxidation anneal in N2 or Ar; fixed charge alters characteristics of Si-SiO2 based MOS gate stacks.
negative charge dielectric  dielectric material used in the form of thin-film in semiconductor technology which features defects that are inherently predominantly negatively charged; e.g. Al2O3.
Term (Index) Definition
Time-Dependent Dielectric Breakdown, TDDB  technique to evaluate reliability of gate oxides in MOS devices; breakdown of the oxide resulting from the prolonged stress; either time needed to break voltage stressed oxide is measured (CVS - Constant Voltage Stress), or time of current injection into the oxide after which oxide fails (CCS - Constant Current Stress).

Reference: Click here for additional information
charge-to-breakdown, Qbd  measure of reliability of oxides in MOS gates; certain current is forced through the oxide at the constant gate voltage; point in time at which voltage drops (indicating oxide failure) is determined; knowing current and time to breakdown total charge needed to break the oxide is determined; a TDDB method.
Time-Zero Dielectric Breakdown, TZDB  technique to evaluate reliability of gate oxides in MOS devices; oxide breakdown occuring without prolonged stress, i.e. under the condition of stress rapidly increasing from zero to oxide breakdown.

Reference: Click here for additional information
Term (Index) Definition
Time-Zero Dielectric Breakdown, TZDB  technique to evaluate reliability of gate oxides in MOS devices; oxide breakdown occuring without prolonged stress, i.e. under the condition of stress rapidly increasing from zero to oxide breakdown.

Reference: Click here for additional information
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