Origin of substrate hole current after gate oxide breakdown

Mahmoud Rasras, Ingrid De Wolf, Guido Groeseneken, Robin Degraeve, Herman E. Maes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The origin of the substrate hole currents after gate oxide breakdown in metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (nMosFET) devices is investigated, using spectroscopic and conventional photon emission microscopy. Spectral analysis of light from the breakdown locations, under positive gate bias, indicates that hot electrons mediate the light emitted from the breakdown spots. These hot electrons are generated by the high electric fields at the location of the breakdown. Furthermore, light emission due to substrate hole recombination with electrons injected from the gate through the leakage path (breakdown location) dominates the light emission spectrum under negative gate bias. This finding is further verified using carrier separation measurements. In these measurements, minority carrier currents induced by the light emitted at the breakdown location and measured at a remote pn junction are compared with the substrate hole currents before and after oxide breakdown. These measurements prove that under positive gate bias, the substrate hole current and the light emission from the breakdown locations, are dominated by hot electron impact ionization mechanism in the substrate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2155-2160
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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