Aluminium Oxide As a High-K Dielectric Material

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Aluminium oxide, commonly referred to as alumina, is one of the most common and widely used oxide engineering ceramics. It has a wide band gap, high breakdown field and high dielectric constant making it an excellent choice for gate insulator and surface passivation layers in electronic devices. Alumina is available in several crystalline phases but all revert to the most stable hexagonal alpha phase at elevated temperatures. Alpha phase alumina is the strongest, stiffest and hardest of all oxide ceramic materials with excellent refractoriness, thermal properties and electrical characteristics.

In order to explore the potential of monolayer alumina as a high-k dielectric material, we have investigated its insulating properties using current-voltage and capacitance-voltage measurements. For Al2O3 ALD films deposited on n-type Si(1 0 0) and Mo-coated Si(1 0 0), we have found that they exhibit excellent insulating properties with low leakage currents and Fowler-Nordheim tunneling up to a dielectric constant of k7.6. The measured insulating properties are consistent with the presence of a thin interfacial oxide layer with an average thickness of 11 A.

In addition, we have also carried out ab initio molecular dynamics simulations of the Al2O3 monolayer on graphene. We find that the monolayer remains atomically stabilized over a temperature range of 300 K and a time period of 10 ps. Moreover, the variation of the monolayer Al-O bond length is within 0.1 A, which is smaller than that of bulk alumina and comparable to that of Y2O3 monolayer on graphene34.

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