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In [link] is shown a schematic representation of a silicon MOSFET (metal-oxide-semiconductor field effect transistor). The MOSFET is the basic component of silicon-CMOS (complimentary metal-oxide-semiconductor) circuits which, in turn, form the basis for logic circuits, such as those used in the CPU (central processing unit) of a modern personal computer. It can be seen that the MOSFET is isolated from adjacent devices by a reverse-biased junction (p + -channel stop) and a thick oxide layer. The gate, source and drain contact are electrically isolated from each other by a thin insulating oxide. A similar scheme is used for the isolation of the collector from both the base and the emitter in bipolar transistor devices.

Schematic diagrams of a Si-MOSFET (metal-oxide-semiconductor field effect transistor).

As a transistor, a MOSFET has many advantages over alternate designs. The key advantage is low power dissipation resulting from the high impedance of the device. This is a result of the thin insulation layer between the channel (region between source and drain) and the gate contact, see [link] . The presence of an insulating gate is characteristic of a general class of devices called MISFETs (metal-insulator-semiconductor field effect transistor). MOSFETs are a subset of MISFETs where the insulator is specifically an oxide, e.g., in the case of a silicon MISFET device the insulator is SiO 2 , hence MOSFET. It is the fabrication of MOSFET circuits that has allowed silicon technology to dominate digital electronics (logic circuits). However, increases in computing power and speed require a constant reduction in device size and increased complexity in device architecture.


Passivation is often defined as a process whereby a film is grown on the surface of a semiconductor to either (a) chemically protect it from the environment, or (b) provide electronic stabilization of the surface.

From the earliest days of solid state electronics it has been recognized that the presence or absence of surface states plays a decisive role in the usefulness of any semiconducting material. On the surface of any solid state material there are sites in which the coordination environment of the atoms is incomplete. These sites, commonly termed "dangling bonds", are the cause of the electronically active states which allow for the recombination of holes and electrons. This recombination occurs at energies below the bulk value, and interferes with the inherent properties of the semiconductor. In order to optimize the properties of a semiconductor device it is desirable to covalently satisfy all these surface bonds, thereby shifting the surface states out of the band gap and into the valence or conduction bands. Electronic passivation may therefore be described as a process which reduces the density of available electronic states present at the surface of a semiconductor, thereby limiting hole and electron recombination possibilities. In the case of silicon both the native oxide and other oxides admirably fulfill these requirements.

Chemical passivation requires a material that inhibits the diffusion of oxygen, water, or other species to the surface of the underlying semiconductor. In addition, the material is ideally hard and resistant to chemical attack. A perfect passivation material would satisfy both electronic and chemical passivation requirements.


For the vast majority of electronic devices, the starting point is a substrate consisting of a flat single crystal wafer of semiconducting material. During processing, which includes the growth of both insulating and conducting films, the surface becomes increasingly non-planar. For example, a gate oxide in a typical MOSFET (see [link] ) may be typically 100 - 250 Å thick, while the isolation or field oxide may be 10,000 Å. In order for the successful subsequent deposition of conducting layers (metallization) to occur without breaking metal lines (often due to the difficulty in maintaining step coverage), the surface must be flat and smooth. This process is called planarization, and can be carried out by a technique known as sacrificial etchback. The steps for this process are outlined in [link] . An abrupt step ( [link] a) is coated with a conformal layer of a low melting dielectric, e.g., borophosphorosilicate glass, BPSG ( [link] b), and subsequently a sacrificial organic resin ( [link] c). The sample is then plasma etched such that the resin and dielectric are removed at the same rate. Since the plasma etch follows the contour of the organic resin, a smooth surface is left behind ( [link] d). The planarization process thus reduces step height differentials significantly. In addition regions or valleys between individual metallization elements (vias) can be completely filled allowing for a route to producing uniformly flat surfaces, e.g., the BPSG film shown in [link] .

Schematic representation of the planarization process. A metallization feature (a) is CVD covered with silicate glass (b), and subsequently coated with an organic resin (c). After etching the resist a smooth silicate surface is produced (d).

The processes of planarization is vital for the development of multilevel structures in VLSI circuits. To minimize interconnection resistance and conserve chip area, multilevel metallization schemes are being developed in which the interconnects run in 3-dimensions.


  • J. L. Vossen and W. Kern, Phys. Today , 1980, 33 , 26.
  • S. K. Ghandhi, VLSI Fabrication Principles, Silicon and Gallium Arsenide , Wiley, Chichester, 2nd Ed. (1994).
  • S. M. Sze, Physics of Semiconductor Devices , 2nd Edition, John Wiley&Sons, New York (1981).
  • W. E. Beadle, J. C. C. Tsai, R. D. Plummer, Quick Reference Manual for Silicon Integrated Cuircuit Technology , Wiley, Chichester (1985).
  • A. C. Adams and C. D. Capio, J. Electrochem. Soc. , 1981, 128 , 2630.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry of electronic materials. OpenStax CNX. Aug 09, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10719/1.9
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