Semiconductor Glossary, Developed Semi OneSource.
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Term (Index) Definition
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.
silicon nitride, Si3N4  dielectric material with energy gap = 5 eV and density ~3.0 g/cm3; excellent mask (barrier) against oxidation of Si; commonlly used in silicon integrated circuit manufacturing primarily in LOCOS process; not used as a gate dielectric due to inferior interface with silicon and bulk defects; properties depend on deposition method: dielectric strength ~107 V/cm, dielectric constant k ~6-7, bulk resistivity 1015-1017 ohm-cm; deposited by CDV.
thermal oxidation, thermal oxide  growth of native oxide of the solid through oxidation of solid's surface at elevated temperature; results from chemical reaction of host atoms with oxygen containing ambient; thermal oxidation of silicon results in a very high quality silicon dioxide, SiO2, formed on the silicon surface; most other semiconductors do not form device quality thermal oxide, hence, term "thermal oxidation" is almost synonymous with "thermal oxidation of silicon".

Reference: Thermal oxidation of silicon.
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