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Three-Dimensional Nanoscale Mapping of State-of-the-Art Field-Effect Transistors (FinFETs)


The semiconductor industry has seen tremendous progress over the last few decades with continuous reduction in transistor size to improve device performance. Miniaturization of devices has led to changes in the dopants and dielectric layers incorporated. As the gradual shift from two-dimensional metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor to three-dimensional (3D) field-effect transistors (finFETs) occurred, it has become imperative to understand compositional variability with nanoscale spatial resolution. Compositional changes can affect device performance primarily through fluctuations in threshold voltage and channel current density. Traditional techniques such as scanning electron microscope and focused ion beam no longer provide the required resolution to probe the physical structure and chemical composition of individual fins. Hence advanced multimodal characterization approaches are required to better understand electronic devices. Herein, we report the study of 14 nm commercial finFETs using atom probe tomography (APT) and scanning transmission electron microscopy-energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (STEM-EDS). Complimentary compositional maps were obtained using both techniques with analysis of the gate dielectrics and silicon fin. APT additionally provided 3D information and allowed analysis of the distribution of low atomic number dopant elements (e.g., boron), which are elusive when using STEM-EDS.

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