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Diffusion 1

Dopant Diffusion (Jaeger Chapter 4 and Campbell Chapter 3)


As indicated previously the main front-end processing in building a device or
integrated circuit is to selectively introduction of dopant atoms into silicon wafer.
Dopant introduction by high temperature diffusion is one of the two major processes
for achieving this. Diffusion is carried out at high temperature ( 800 to 1000 C) in a
dopant-rich gaseous ambient.

Diffusion also covers the redistribution in the wafer of dopant atoms introduced into
the wafer by other methods such as ion implantation.

For simplicity the diffusion of dopant in silicon is modelled by the simple diffusion
theory described by Ficks law in which the flux of dopant atoms at any point is
assumed to be proportional to the gradient of the dopant concentration at that point.
The proportionality constant is the diffusion coefficient, D . This is assumed to be a
constant for a given dopant species at a given temperature. Actually D is not constant
by is dependent on dopant concentration.

This section covers the diffusion techniques used and the simple 1-D analysis
describing the dopant distribution into the wafer.
Diffusion 2
Diffusion System
The most common practice of introducing dopant
into wafers by diffusion is the horizontal quartz
tube furnaces similar to that used for thermal
oxidation of silicon wafers. A separate furnace,
wafer holder etc are reserved for a particular
dopant to avoid contamination by other dopants.
In general the dopant atoms are introduced in two
separate diffusion steps, each in its own tube
furnace. The first step is referred to as pre-
deposition diffusion, it is aimed to introduce a
controlled amount of dopant atoms into the silicon
surface (dopant atoms per unit surface area). The
second step known as the drive-in diffusion which
is aimed (at least theoretically) to redistribute the
dopant atoms introduced during predeposition
further into the silicon and reducing the dopant
concentration near the surface.
Predeposition Diffusion
In pre-deposition diffusion the wafer is exposed to
excess amount of dopant atoms in a gaseous
ambient to ensure that the wafer surface has the
maximum concentration of dopant atoms
determined by the diffusion temperature (referred
to as the solid solubility limit). Not all introduced
dopant atoms are electrically active.


Diffusion 3
The introduction of dopant atoms into the silicon (particularly at high dopant
concentration) coupled with the high thermal gradients experienced by the wafers when
they are inserted or removed from the high temperature of the furnace can cause
significant damage to the crystal structure of the single crystal (dislocations and slip)
which would affect the electrical properties of the material (lifetime reduction for example).
To alleviate this, wafers are pushed into and removed from the furnace in slow controlled
manner using mechanical puller which has a slow control pull rate (~a few cm per
minute). Mechanical puller is now used for all furnaces. In modern furnaces rather than
keeping the furnace at the diffusion temperature when the wafers are inserted, it is
possible to introduced the wafers into a cool furnace (~600 C) and then ramp up the
temperature to the diffusion temperature in a controlled fashion (similarly for a ramp down
on wafers removal).
The dopant atoms can be introduced in solid, liquid or gaseous form. The following table
gives the sources used for Boron and Phosphorus:
Dopant Boron Phosphorus
Form
Solid B
2
O
3
,BN P
2
O
5

Liquid BBr
3
POCl
3

Gaseous BCl
3
PH
3

The BN solid source (in solid disc form) is actually converted to B
2
O
3
in an oxidising
ambient in a separate furnace and then loaded in the predeposition furnace with each BN
disc facing the silicon wafers. The B2O3 is then transferred to the surface of the wafers.
Diffusion 4
These diagrams show how these are done.
Diffusion 5
Drive-in Diffusion
The drive-in diffusion is typically carried out in an oxidising ambient but with no dopant
atoms. This is carried out after in a furnace very similar to an oxidation furnace usually at
a temperature higher than the predeposition temperature. Prior to the drive-in diffusion, a
very thin layer of dopant rich silicon and/or silicon dioxide formed during predeposition is
etched away (hydrofluoric acid dip).
Diffusion 6
Prior to the drive-in diffusion, a very thin layer of dopant rich silicon and/or silicon dioxide
formed during predeposition is etched away (hydrofluoric acid dip). The drive-in oxide
layer formed on the wafer is to seal in the dopant atoms. In simple analysis. It is
assumed that no dopant atoms are lost either to the ambient or to the oxide. Due to the
conversion of silicon into silicon dioxide and the redistribution of dopant atoms at Si-SiO
2
interface during oxidation, there is always loss of dopant atoms, more so for born due to
the suck-out effect.
As mentioned before, during drive-in the dopant atoms diffuse further into the silicon and it
also reduces the surface dopant concentration. The resistance (more correctly the sheet
resistance) of the diffused layer increases and the junction depth increases.

Diffusion 7
Mathematical Modelling of Diffusion 1-dimensional
2
2
x
N
D
t
N
c
c
=
c
c
Dopant diffusion is governed by Ficks Laws
(diffusion laws).
Ficks 1
st
Law states that the diffusion flux F (i.e.
dopant flow per unit cross-section area per unit
time ) is dependent on the dopant concentration
gradient:

The variation of dopant concentration with distance into the semiconductor is known
as the dopant profile. Consider the 1-dimension case in which we consider only
dopant concentration variation in x, the direction perpendicular to the semiconductor
surface:

where N(x) is the dopant concentration and D
is the diffusion coefficient (or diffusion
coefficient) at the diffusion temperature.
Ficks 2
nd
Law, conservation of matter, gives
the rate of change of N with time:
x
N
D F
c
c
=
Diffusion 8
Predeposition Diffusion
For this process, the dopant concentration at the surface N(x=0) is limited to the solid
solubility of the dopant at the predeposition temperature N
o
for all t >0. Assuming that
there are no dopant atoms of this element in the silicon prior to diffusion (N =0 for all x at
t <0) and that the silicon is infinitely thick such that N(x=infinity) =0 for t >0.Then it can
be shown that the N(x) for t>0 is given by:

. d ) exp( ) y ( erf
as defined function, error as known function al mathematic known well the is erf where
) y ( erf d ) exp( ) y ( erfc
as defined function, error ary complement the is erfc where
Dt
x
erfc N d ) exp( N ) t , x ( N
y
y
o
) Dt ( x
o
}

t
=
=
(
(

}

t
=
(

=
(
(

}

t
=
0
2
0
2
2
0
2
2
1
2
1
2
2
1
When x = 0, N(0,t) = N
o
independent of t. This is expected because of the solid
solubility assumption at the surface. For any x >0, N(x,t) increases with t. This gives
dopant profile of the form:
Diffusion 9
This profile is often referred to as the complementary error function profile or the
predeposition profile. The term 2(Dt) is known as the diffusion length (not to be
confused with the carrier diffusion length (Dt) when we consider carrier diffusion in the
operation of semiconductor devices). In some literature (Dt) is referred to as the
characteristic length of the diffusion process. Increasing (Dt) extends the dopant atoms
further into the bulk of the semiconductor wafer this simply means that by increasing
the predeposition diffusion time we have more dopant atoms moving further into the
semiconductor while keeping the surface concentration constant at N
o
.

Diffusion 10
The diffusion coefficient, D, is a function of diffusion
temperature following the Arrhenius relationship:


Typical D
o
and activation energy E
A
as well as D-
temperature plots are given here. For first order
approximation, D is taken to be independent of the
actual dopant level.
kT
A
E
o
e D D

=
Diffusion 11
For a given predeposition diffusion conditions (i.e. fixed N
o
, D and t) the total amount of
dopant atoms introduced into the silicon wafer, Q, measured in atoms per unit surface
area of the diffusion window, is determined by predeposition diffusion. Q is given by:







Concept of Junction Depth, x
j

When dopant of one type (p or n) is diffused into a wafer originally doped with dopant of
the opposite type, a junction will be formed. The distance of the junction from the
surface is known as the junction depth, x
j
. At x
j
the concentration of the diffused dopant
= the concentration of the substrate dopant (assumed to have a uniform concentration).
Consider a p-type substrate with uniform dopant concentration N
A
subjected to the n-
type predeposition diffusion with the profile:



. dy ) y ( erfc
: that fact the of use made have we where
Dt N
dx
Dt
x
erfc N dx ) x ( N Q
o
o
0
t
=
}
t
=
}
(

=
}
=


1
1
2
2
0
0

. N
Dt
x
erfc N
: by given then is x depth, junction the
,
Dt
x
erfc N ) x ( N
A
j
Do
j
Do D
0
2
2
=
(

=
Diffusion 12
For x <x
j
the material is n-type and for x>x
j
it remains p-type. The net dopant concentration
on n-side is N
D
(x) N
A
and on p-side it is N
A
-N
D
(x). See Left plot below. Because the
dopant concentration level varies several order of magnitude, the dopant concentration
axis is usually plotted on log scale. See npn bjt dopant concentration plot below right.

Diffusion 13
Drive-in Diffusion
Dopant diffusion during drive-in is governed by the same diffusion equation i.e. Ficks 2
nd

Law for the diffusion of dopant atoms inside the silicon, i.e.


The only difference is the boundary conditions for this equation. It is usually assumed that
a layer of SiO
2
is formed immediately at the surface and this serves as a mask preventing
the inward (from ambient to silicon) or outward (silicon to ambient) diffusion of dopant
atoms. Mathematically, the boundary condition is that the dopant atom flux at x=0 is zero
for all t >0 i.e.






where D
1
and t
1
are the diffusion coefficient and diffusion time for predeposition diffusion.
In order to obtain analytical solution for the final profile, we have to make simplifying
assumptions based on our knowledge about the diffusion sequence.


s. x' all for 0 t at , )
t D
x
( erfc N N(x)
i.e. condition, initial the as profile
ion predeposit the have we then ion, predeposit after out carried is diffusion that Assuming
0 t a for 0 x at
x
N

o
= =
> = =
c
c
1 1
2
0
2
2
x
N
D
t
N
c
c
=
c
c
Diffusion 14
In general, predeposition diffusion is carried out at a lower temperature than drive-in
diffusion and also for a shorter time. If D
2
and t
2
and the diffusion coefficient and
diffusion time for drive-in, then
D
2
t
2
>> D
1
t
1
.
Under this condition, it is usual to treat the predeposition diffusion profile as a delta
function at x=0 with the area of the delta function = Q, the dopant atoms per unit
surface area introduced by predeposition i.e.
N(x,t=0)= Q.o(x),
where,

In this case, the solution of the drive-in diffusion is:



The right hand side is the well known Gaussian function and the profile is referred to as
the Gaussian diffusion profile. The peak of the profile occurs at x =0, i.e. at the surface
as we would expect it. However notice that the magnitude of this peak decreases as the
diffusion time t increases. This is the consequence that as diffusion time increases, the
fixed amount of dopant atoms, Q, is spread out further into the silicon wafer. The plot of
Gaussian dopant profile is shown below:


t
=
1
2 Dt N Q
o
.
Dt
x
exp
Dt
Q
t) N(x,
|
|
.
|

\
|

t
=
4
2
Diffusion 15
Erfc and Gaussian profiles are only
approximate description of the actual
profiles but they are used extensively for
estimation of junction depth, resistance
(known as sheet resistance) etc of diffused
layers.

Some reasons for deviations from erfc and
Gaussian profiles:
1.Dopant concentration dependent
diffusion coefficient
2.Lateral diffusion of dopant atoms
3.Boron suck-out and phosphorus pile-up
during drive-in
4.Shallow junctions where delta function
approximation of pre-deposition profile is
not accurate.

Diffusion 16
Sheet Resistance and Irvin Curves
With varying dopant concentration
N(x), the conductivity and resistivity of
a diffused layer also change with
distance: (x)= q(
n
.n+
p
.p) =1/(x).
However the layer can carry current
parallel to the wafer surface and will
obey Ohm Law. For the purpose of
characterising this layer and for the
use of the layer to form resistors, the
layer is characterised by a quantity
known as sheet resistance, R
s
(or
s
).
This is the resistance between the two
opposite sides of a unit square (side
length L) of the diffused layer as
shown below. It is assumed that
current flows parallel to the surface.
Breaking this layer into elemental
layers each of thickness dx. They are
conductors in parallel.

Diffusion 17
The elemental layer between x and x+dx has net dopant concentration [N(x) N
B
]. It
has a conductance:



We have assumed here that only the majority carriers contribute to the current flow.
We have also ignored the effect of the space charge region of the junction.
Since all elemental layers are in parallel, the total conductance of the diffused layer,
G
S
, the sheet conductance, is:



Or, the sheet resistance, R
S
, is:




R
S
has the unit of and it is independent of the actual value of L i.e. so long it is a
square piece of the diffused layer. R
S
is more commonly referred to in per square.
Also notice that if we have the diffused layer of width L (direction perpendicular to
current flow) and length (direction parallel to current flow) 2L, its resistance is that of
two square units connected in series i.e. R = 2R
S
.
dx ] N ) x ( N [ q
L
Ldx
] N ) x ( N [ q ) x ( g
B
B
=
=
}
=
j
x
B s
dx ] N ) x ( N [ q G
0
}

= =
j
x
B
s
s
dx ] N ) x ( N [ q
G
R
0
1 1
Diffusion 18
Diffused layers are used to produce resistors in bipolar technology, typically
the base diffusion is used for this purpose because it has higher sheet
resistance. The value of a diffused resistor is given by:
R = R
s
. (L/W)
Where R
s
is the sheet resistance of the diffused layer and L and W are the
length and width of the diffused area as seen from the top.

L
W
Diffusion 19
Sheet Resistance Measurement
Sheet resistance of a diffused layer ( or an
implanted layer) can be measured fairly
easily using what is referred to as the
(linear four-point probe measurement on a
test wafer (of dopant type opposite to that
of the diffusion) on which the diffusion is
carried out on the whole wafer. The
measurement is setup is shown in
diagram. The four probes are in line equal
distance a apart (typically 1mm). Constant
current I is flowing into wafer at probe 1
and out of wafer at probe 4. Potential
difference between probes 2 and 3, V is
measured by a voltmeter.
Consider first the situation that there is
only current I into probe 1 (no current in or
out of probe 4). We expect this current to
flow uniformly radially outward in the
diffused layer. At a radius r from probe 1,
the current density (sheet current density)
is:


r
I
J
s
t
=
2
Diffusion 20
The sheet current density is related to the radial electric field E through Ohms Law:


E is related to the radial change in potential dV/dr by:


By integrating the above expression from probe 2 to probe 3, we gat the voltage drop
from probe 2 to probe 3 due to current I flowing into probe 1:


By similar consideration of a current I flowing out at probe 4 (with no current in or out of
probe 1), we get the voltage across probe 2 and 3 as:

The combination of the two above situations is equivalent to the case of the four point
probe measurement. By superposition theorem, the measured voltage between probe 2
and 3 for the four point probe measurement is:


If the current is set at 4.532 mA, then the voltage measured is the sheet resistance in
kO per square.

r
I
R J R E
s s s
t
= =
2
r
I
R E
dr
dV
s
t
= =
2
) ln(
I
R )
a
2a
ln(
I
R V
s s
2
2 2
1
23
t
=
t
=
) ln(
I
R V
s
2
2
4
23
t
=
I
V
.
I
V
) ln(
R or ) ln(
I
R V
s s
23 23
23
532 4
2
2 =
t
=
t
=