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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Professor Stewart Clark

Xiong, K., Robertson, J. & Clark, S.J. (2006). Passivation of oxygen vacancy states in HfO2 by nitrogen. Journal of Applied Physics 99(4): 044105.

Author(s) from Durham


Nitrogen is known to reduce leakage currents and charge trapping in high-dielectric-constant gate oxides such as HfO2. We show that this occurs because nitrogen, substituting for oxygen atoms next to oxygen vacancy sites, repels the occupied gap states due to the neutral and positively charged oxygen vacancies out of the band gap into its conduction band. The state of the negatively charge vacancy is also repelled upwards but remains as a shallow gap state. This occurs because the vacancy becomes effectively positively charged; the adjacent Hf ions relax outwards from the vacancy and shift its states upwards. We show this using ab initio calculation methods which do not require an empirical correction to the band gap.