Dark Current and Plasma Damage

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MDPI paper "CMOS Image Sensors and Plasma Processes: How PMD Nitride Charging Acts on the Dark Current" by Yolène Sacchettini, Jean-Pierre Carrère, Romain Duru, Jean-Pierre Oddou, Vincent Goiffon, and Pierre Magnan from STMicroelectronics and ISAE-SUPAERO, Université de Toulouse is apart of Special Issue on the 2019 International Image Sensor Workshop (IISW2019).

"Plasma processes are known to be prone to inducing damage by charging effects. For CMOS image sensors, this can lead to dark current degradation both in value and uniformity. An in-depth analysis, motivated by the different degrading behavior of two different plasma processes, has been performed in order to determine the degradation mechanisms associated with one plasma process. It is based on in situ plasma-induced charge characterization techniques for various dielectric stack structures (dielectric nature and stack configuration). A degradation mechanism is proposed, highlighting the role of ultraviolet (UV) light from the plasma in creating an electron hole which induces positive charges in the nitride layer at the wafer center, and negative ones at the edge. The trapped charges de-passivate the SiO2/Si interface by inducing a depleted interface above the photodiode, thus emphasizing the generation of dark current. A good correlation between the spatial distribution of the total charges and the value of dark current has been observed."

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