Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Andrew M. Hoff, Ph.D.


Corona-Kelvin metrology, Field emission, Voltage decay, Non-contact SiLC, Trapped charge


Consistent charge or defect control in oxide grown on silicon carbide (SiC) continues to be difficult to achieve and directly impacts the electrical performance of SiC-based metal oxide semiconductor (MOS) devices. This research applied non-contact Corona-Kelvin metrology to investigate the charge transport in oxides grown on n-type 4H-SiC epitaxial substrates. The cost and engineering science impact of this metrology are significant as device fabrication is avoided leading to quick determination of electrical characteristics from as-grown oxide films. Non-contact current-voltage (I-V) measurements of oxide on SiC were first demonstrated within this work and revealed that Fowler-Nordheim (F-N) current emission was the dominant conduction mechanism at high electric fields.

Oxides on SiC were grown at atmospheric pressure (thermal oxides) or at a reduced pressure (afterglow oxides) ambient and examined using non-contact charge-voltage (Q-V), capacitance-voltage (C-V), equivalent oxide thickness (EOT), and I-V methods. The F-N conduction model was modified to address charge trapping and effective barrier effects obtained from experimental oxide films. Trap densities determined with this metrology were used to show that the F-N model including their density and position was adequate for thermal oxides on SiC but not for afterglow films. Data from the latter films required further modification of the theory to include a chemical effect of the oxide growth process on the effective conduction band offset or barrier. This work showed that afterglow chemistry was able to vary the effective conduction band offset from 2.9 eV, typical of thermal oxidation of SiC, up to 3.2 eV.

Stress induced leakage current (SILC), an excess above the F-N base current resulting from prolonged current through the dielectric films, was also investigated. Multiple point SILC testing was used to identify statistical effects of process variations and defects in as-grown oxide films on SiC. These results open the possibility to improve oxide manufacture on SiC using methods common in the silicon IC industry. This work demonstrated the first non-contact F-N current determination in oxides on SiC and showed both charge trapping and chemical dependencies of as-grown films. Future studies may extend the findings of this work to further improve this important dielectric-semiconductor system.