Electrical conduction and dielectric relaxation properties of AlN thin films grown by hollow-cathode plasma-assisted atomic layer deposition
In this study, aluminum nitride (AlN) thin films were deposited at 200 ï¿½C, on p-type silicon substrates utilizing a capacitively coupled hollow-cathode plasma source integrated atomic layer deposition (ALD) reactor. The structural properties of AlN were characterized by grazing incidence x-ray diffraction, by which we confirmed the hexagonal wurtzite single-phase crystalline structure. The films exhibited an optical band edge around ∼5.7 eV. The refractive index and extinction coefficient of the AlN films were measured via a spectroscopic ellipsometer. In addition, to investigate the electrical conduction mechanisms and dielectric properties, Al/AlN/p-Si metal-insulator-semiconductor capacitor structures were fabricated, and current density-voltage and frequency dependent (7 kHz-5 MHz) dielectric constant measurements (within the strong accumulation region) were performed. A peak of dielectric loss was observed at a frequency of 3 MHz and the Cole-Davidson empirical formula was used to determine the relaxation time. It was concluded that the native point defects such as nitrogen vacancies and DX centers formed with the involvement of Si atoms into the AlN layers might have influenced the electrical conduction and dielectric relaxation properties of the plasma-assisted ALD grown AlN films.