Silicon nanoparticle charge trapping memory cell
A charge trapping memory with 2 nm silicon nanoparticles (Si NPs) is demonstrated. A zinc oxide (ZnO) active layer is deposited by atomic layer deposition (ALD), preceded by Al2O3 which acts as the gate, blocking and tunneling oxide. Spin coating technique is used to deposit Si NPs across the sample between Al2O3 steps. The Si nanoparticle memory exhibits a threshold voltage (Vt) shift of 2.9 V at a negative programming voltage of -10 V indicating that holes are emitted from channel to charge trapping layer. The negligible measured Vt shift without the nanoparticles and the good re- tention of charges (>10 years) with Si NPs confirm that the Si NPs act as deep energy states within the bandgap of the Al2O3 layer. In order to determine the mechanism for hole emission, we study the effect of the electric field across the tunnel oxide on the magnitude and trend of the Vt shift. The Vt shift is only achieved at electric fields above 1 MV/cm. This high field indicates that tunneling is the main mechanism. More specifically, phonon-assisted tunneling (PAT) dominates at electric fields between 1.2 MV/cm < E < 2.1 MV/cm, while Fowler-Nordheim tunneling leads at higher fields (E > 2.1 MV/cm). © 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.