Retention Reliability Improvement of Silicon-Oxide-Nitride-Oxide-Silicon Nonvolatile Memory with N2O Oxidation Tunnel Oxide
The reliability characteristics of silicon-oxide-nitride-oxide-silicon (SONOS) devices with different thin tunnel oxides are studied. The device with the tunnel oxynitride grown in pure N2O ambient at a high temperature has better performance, including better leakage current, programming speed, read-disturb, and retention characteristics, than that with a tunnel oxide layer grown by dry oxidation with N2 annealing treatment. Moreover, the properties of two-bit operation are also displayed by a reverse read method. Furthermore, the surface roughness and interface states between a tunnel oxide layer and a Si substrate are also observed by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and charge-pumping method to evaluate interfacial nitrogen incorporation. The results show that data retention reliability attained a significant improvement while maintaining good programming/erase performance and two-bit operation. This work can provide a straightforward way of reliability improvement for future flash memory application.