Effects of Nitridation on the Characteristics of Silicon Dioxide: Dielectric and Structural Properties from ab initio Calculations

By combining ab initio calculations and classical molecular dynamics, we determine how the inclusion of nitrogen in a silica matrix changes its dielectric constant, and elucidate the underlying mechanisms. We find that there is an entire range of nitrogen concentrations (up to approx. 25%) for which the structural pattern of the oxide is preserved in bulk SiON, and the dielectric constant increases mainly because of the variation of the ionic polarizability. This behavior is not sensitive to hydrogen passivation of nitrogen. The few defects, which are associated with electron states near the gap, are mainly centered on undercoordiated nitrogen and undercoordinated silicon, and tend to be removed by hydrogen.

By: Dominik Fischer, Alessandro Curioni, Salomon Billeter, and Wanda Andreoni

Published in: Physical Review Letters, volume 92, (no 23), pages 236405 in 2004

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