Open Access Nano Express

Effect of annealing treatments on photoluminescence and charge storage mechanism in silicon-rich SiNx:H films

Bhabani Shankar Sahu*, Florian Delachat, Abdelilah Slaoui, Marzia Carrada, Gerald Ferblantier and Dominique Muller

Author Affiliations

InESS-UdS-CNRS, 23 Rue du Loess, 67037 Strasbourg, France

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:178  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-178

Published: 28 February 2011


In this study, a wide range of a-SiNx:H films with an excess of silicon (20 to 50%) were prepared with an electron-cyclotron resonance plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition system under the flows of NH3 and SiH4. The silicon-rich a-SiNx:H films (SRSN) were sandwiched between a bottom thermal SiO2 and a top Si3N4 layer, and subsequently annealed within the temperature range of 500-1100°C in N2 to study the effect of annealing temperature on light-emitting and charge storage properties. A strong visible photoluminescence (PL) at room temperature has been observed for the as-deposited SRSN films as well as for films annealed up to 1100°C. The possible origins of the PL are briefly discussed. The authors have succeeded in the formation of amorphous Si quantum dots with an average size of about 3 to 3.6 nm by varying excess amount of Si and annealing temperature. Electrical properties have been investigated on Al/Si3N4/SRSN/SiO2/Si structures by capacitance-voltage and conductance-voltage analysis techniques. A significant memory window of 4.45 V was obtained at a low operating voltage of ± 8 V for the sample containing 25% excess silicon and annealed at 1000°C, indicating its utility in low-power memory devices.