Mechanisms of Low-Temperature Nitridation Technology on a TaN Thin Film Resistor for Temperature Sensor Applications
© Chen et al. 2016
Received: 22 March 2016
Accepted: 12 May 2016
Published: 1 June 2016
In this letter, we propose a novel low-temperature nitridation technology on a tantalum nitride (TaN) thin film resistor (TFR) through supercritical carbon dioxide (SCCO2) treatment for temperature sensor applications. We also found that the sensitivity of temperature of the TaN TFR was improved about 10.2 %, which can be demonstrated from measurement of temperature coefficient of resistance (TCR). In order to understand the mechanism of SCCO2 nitridation on the TaN TFR, the carrier conduction mechanism of the device was analyzed through current fitting. The current conduction mechanism of the TaN TFR changes from hopping to a Schottky emission after the low-temperature SCCO2 nitridation treatment. A model of vacancy passivation in TaN grains with nitrogen and by SCCO2 nitridation treatment is eventually proposed to increase the isolation ability in TaN TFR, which causes the transfer of current conduction mechanisms.
With the rapid development of Internet of Things (IOT) technology, the improvement of sensor technologies, such as temperature sensors, gas sensors, and optical sensors, is required to integrate with memory devices [1–23], logic devices, and passive devices [24–28] in one chip in the future. In addition to the volume of traditional sensor devices being large, the materials used in the manufacture need to be processed at a high temperature, which cannot be compatible with the back end of the line process of integrated circuit (IC) manufacturing technology. Therefore, low-temperature and IC technology-compatible materials should be developed for sensor devices and IOT technology. Tantalum nitride is a mechanically hard, chemically inner, and corrosion-resistant material and has good shock/heat-resistant properties. These properties make the material attractive for many industrial applications.
A supercritical phase is peculiar with its characteristics of high penetration of gas and solubility of liquid [29–39]. The supercritical ammonia fluid has nitridation ability for materials. In order to achieve supercritical ammonia at lower temperature, little ammonia was added into supercritical CO2 fluids, from which the liquid ammonia can attain to the supercritical fluid phase due to the phase close to an ideal solution.
In this study, a tantalum nitride (TaN) thin film resistor was fabricated to investigate improvement of temperature sensitivity with supercritical carbon dioxide (SCCO2) nitridation technology through current-voltage measurement and analysis. The current fitting methods were applied so as to analyze the physical mechanisms of carrier conduction in TaN films with SCCO2 nitridation treatment. Conduction current fitting together with vary-temperature current-voltage measurement data were thoroughly investigated, from which current conduction mechanisms were determined. Finally, a molecular reaction model was proposed to explain the influence of the SCCO2 nitridation process on the current conduction mechanisms in the TaN thin film resistor. We believe that the temperature sensitivity of the TaN thin film can be improved by SCCO2 nitridation technology at lower temperature.
Results and Discussion
In conclusion, the vacancies between the TaN grains were successfully passivated by SCCO2 nitridation technology to form an insulating TaON layer. After SCCO2 nitridation treatment, the carrier conduction mechanism of the TaN TFR transforms from hopping conduction to a Schottky emission conduction due to the formation of the TaON layer between TaN grain boundary, which causes the enhancement of temperature sensitivity of the TaN TFR. It is believed that the low-temperature SCCO2 nitridation treatment is a promising technology for high-temperature sensitivity sensor applications.
This work was performed at the National Science Council Core Facilities Laboratory for Nano-Science and Nano-Technology in the Kaohsiung-Pingtung area and was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan (MOST), under contract nos. MOST-103-2112-M-110-011-MY3.
HRC designed and set up the experimental procedure. YCC and TCC planned the experiments and agreed with the paper's publication. TMT revised the manuscript critically. KCC, TJC, and CCS conducted the electrical measurement of the devices. NCC fabricated the devices with the assistance of KYW. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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