BSI Pixel Passivation Quality Tracking

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MDPI paper "Electrical Characterization of the Backside Interface on BSI Global Shutter Pixels with Tungsten-Shield Test Structures on CDTI Process" by Célestin Doyen, Stéphane Ricq, Pierre Magnan, Olivier Marcelot, Marios Barlas, and Sébastien Place from ST Micro and Université de Toulouse is a part of the Special issue on the 2019 International Image Sensor Workshop (IISW2019).

"A new methodology is presented using well known electrical characterization techniques on dedicated single devices in order to investigate backside interface contribution to the measured pixel dark current in BSI CMOS image sensors technologies. Extractions of interface states and charges within the dielectric densities are achieved. The results show that, in our case, the density of state is not directly the source of dark current excursions. The quality of the passivation of the backside interface appears to be the key factor. Thanks to the presented new test structures, it has been demonstrated that the backside interface contribution to dark current can be investigated separately from other sources of dark current, such as the frontside interface, DTI (deep trench isolation), etc."


"With these MOS capacitor and W-shield gate transistor test structures, it is possible to electrically characterize the backside interface of BSI technology at the end of a process using a tungsten shield. By means of two known characterization methods, Dit and NEFF, which are the two important parameters for dark current, can be extracted. It is, therefore, possible to investigate if the dark current mainly comes from the backside interface, and to discriminate the origin of the backside dark current.

In the case presented in this study, the difference in Idark behavior is explained by quality passivation differences of the backside interface between wafers. COCOS measurements are useful to characterize the interface just after a material deposit, however, it cannot be used with a fully processed wafer, unlike the methodology used on the new structures presented in this study. A drawback of this method is the presence of a charging effect that forces some caution on the execution of measurements, but this effect can be recovered and is not present in pixel operating conditions. In addition to these Idark contribution studies, these dedicated devices with associated characterizations can be helpful for process monitoring, TCAD calibration, and reliability works.
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