Grain boundary mediated leakage current in polycrystalline HfO2 films

K. McKenna, A. Shluger, V. Iglesias, M. Porti, M. Nafría, M. Lanza, G. Bersuker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

82 Scopus citations


In this work, we combine conductive atomic force microscopy (CAFM) and first principles calculations to investigate leakage current in thin polycrystalline HfO2 films. A clear correlation between the presence of grain boundaries and increased leakage current through the film is demonstrated. The effect is a result of a number of related factors, including local reduction in the oxide film thickness near grain boundaries, the intrinsic electronic properties of grain boundaries which enhance direct tunnelling relative to the bulk, and segregation of oxygen vacancy defects which increase trap assisted tunnelling currents. These results highlight the important role of grain boundaries in determining the electrical properties of polycrystalline HfO2 films with relevance to applications in advanced logic and memory devices. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMicroelectronic Engineering
Number of pages4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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