Jack S. Semura

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Environmental Sciences and Resources: Physics


Environmental Science and Management

Physical Description

1 online resource (3, ix, 119 pages)


Silicon -- Defects -- Measurement, Oxygen -- Measurement




Gettering of impurities with oxygen precipitates is widely used during the fabrication of semiconductors to improve the performance and yield of the devices. Since the effectiveness of the gettering process is largely dependent on the initial interstitial oxygen concentration, accurate measurements of this parameter are of considerable importance. Measurements of interstitial oxygen following thermal cycles are required for development of semiconductor fabrication processes and for research into the mechanisms of oxygen precipitate nucleation and growth. Efforts by industrial associations have led to the development of standard procedures for the measurement of interstitial oxygen in wafers. However practical oxygen measurements often do not satisfy the requirements of such standard procedures. An additional difficulty arises when the silicon wafer has a low resitivity (high dopant concentration). In such cases the infrared light used for the measurement is severely attenuated by the electrons of holes introduced by the dopant. Since such wafers are the substrates used for the production of widely used epitaxial wafers, this measurement problem is economically important. Alternative methods such as Secondary Ion Mass Spectroscopy or Gas Fusion Analysis have been developed to measure oxygen in these cases. However, neither of these methods is capable of distinguishing interstitial oxygen from precipitated oxygen as required for precipitation studies.

In addition to the commercial interest in heavily doped silicon substrates, they are also of interest for research into the role of point defects in nucleation and precipitation processes. Despite considerable research effort, there is still disagreement concerning the type of point defect and its role in semiconductor processes. Studies of changes in the interstitial oxygen concentration of heavily doped and lightly doped silicon wafers could help clarify the role of point defects in oxygen nucleation and precipitation processes. This could lead to more effective control and use of oxygen precipitation for gettering.

One of the principal purposes of this thesis is the extension of the infrared interstitial oxygen measurement technique to situations outside the measurement capacities of the standard technique. These situations include silicon slices exhibiting interfering precipitate absorption bands and heavily doped n-type silicon wafers. A new method is presented for correcting for the effect of multiple reflections in silicon wafers with optically rough surfaces. The technique for the measurement of interstitial oxygen in heavily doped n-type wafers is then used to perform a comparative study of oxygen precipitation in heavily antimony doped (.035 ohm-cm) silicon and lightly doped p-type silicon. A model is presented to quantitatively explain the observed suppression of defect formation in heavily doped n-type wafers.


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