Imaging of Arsenic Cottrell Atmospheres Around Silicon Defects by Three-Dimensional Atom Probe Tomography

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Science  07 Sep 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5843, pp. 1370-1374
DOI: 10.1126/science.1145428

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Discrete control of individual dopant or impurity atoms is critical to the electrical characteristics and fabrication of silicon nanodevices. The unavoidable introduction of defects into silicon during the implantation process may prevent the uniform distribution of dopant atoms. Cottrell atmospheres are one such nonuniformity and occur when interstitial atoms interact with dislocations, pinning the dislocation and trapping the interstitial. Atom probe tomography has been used to quantify the location and elemental identity of the atoms proximate to defects in silicon. We found that Cottrell atmospheres of arsenic atoms form around defects after ion implantation and annealing. Furthermore, these atmospheres persist in surrounding dislocation loops even after considerable thermal treatment. If not properly accommodated, these atmospheres create dopant fluctuations that ultimately limit the scalability of silicon devices.

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