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Investigations of internal stresses in high-voltage devices with deep trenches

Hieckmann, E.; Mühle, U.; Chekhonin, P.; Zschech, E.; Gambino, J.

Deep trenches, as essential elements of silicon chips used in electronic high-power and high-frequency devices, are known as starting points for dislocation generation under the influence of internal mechanical stresses resulting mainly from the difference in the thermal expansion coefficients between silicon and silicon dioxide. Since the electrical insulation of the devices requires a sequence of mechanical, chemical, and high-temperature processes during the preparation of the deep trenches, including the formation of an amorphous SiO2 edge layer, the emergence of the internal stresses is hardly avoidable. The method of cross correlation backscattered electron diffraction in the scanning electron microscope is used here to quantitatively determine the magnitude and local distribution of internal stresses in silicon around the deep trenches after four different process steps. For this purpose, Kikuchi diffraction images are recorded of the wafer cross section areas along lines perpendicular and parallel to the deep trenches. After Fourier transformation, these images are cross correlated with the Fourier transform of the diffraction image from a stressfree reference sample site. The well-established numerical evaluation of cross correlation functions provides the complete distortion tensor for each measuring point of the line scan, from which the stress tensor can be calculated using Hooke’s law. It is found that the in-plane normal stress component σ11 perpendicular to the long edges of the deep trench is larger than the other stress components. That means it essentially determines the magnitude of the von-Mises stress, which was determined as a general stress indicator for all measuring points, too. A characteristic feature is the local distribution of the stress component σ11 with maximum tensile stresses of some hundred megapascals at transition between Si and amorphous SiO2 on the long edges of the deep trench, and with even higher maximum compressive stresses immediately below the bottom of the deep trench. At a distance of about 2 μm from the edges of a single deep trench, all stress components decrease to negligibly small values so that steep stress gradients occur. The range and distribution of tensile and compressive stresses are in accordance with finite element simulations; however, the measured stresses are higher than expected for all investigated states so that dislocation formation seems to be possible. The influence of the electron acceleration voltage on the determination of the internal stresses is discussed as well.


  • Secondary publication expected

Publ.-Id: 31772

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