Ultrathin Dielectric Oxide Films On Silicon


The technology is a chemical method for preparing ultrathin oxide films on silicon with low leakage currents and high capacitance, optimizing the electrical properties of the dielectric barrier.


An alternative gate dielectric material will be required for scaling of microelectronic devices to continue at its present rate. The decreasing dimensions of the transistor have required thinner and thinner gate oxide films to maintain capacitance. Unfortunately, leakage currents through silicon dioxide film become too high when using films thinner than 2 nm. Alternative gate oxide materials with a higher dielectric constant have been sought, but the problem has been finding a material which will not form an interfacial layer of silicon dioxide between the high-k dielectric and silicon substrate, and can be deposited using an economically viable process. Continuous dielectric films for silicon based electronics of thicknesses far less than is possible with SiO2have been demonstrated, with high chemical purity and exceedingly low leakage current. This is accomplished through repeated condensation-hydrolysis reactions using n-propyl orthozirconate. The resulting materials will permit the best FET gate material, and when combined with other innovations, the lowest power, highest speed transistors possible.


The primary application for this technology is for integrated circuits; processors and memory applications are the main applications for IC (integrated circuit) technology.

Examples of such applications include:

  • Semiconductors
  • Microelectronics fabrication
  • Electronic chemical industries
  • Tool manufacturing

Other applications would include sealing or passivation of silicon surfaces in electronics and capacitors on chips.


  • Smaller, Faster, & More Efficient: High dielectric constant material allows for continuation of size reduction and increased area density
  • Increased purity: Key to this technology is the purity of the zirconium Industry potential: High dielectric constant material with low leakage currents