The structural stability and electrical performance of SiO 2 grown on SiC via direct plasma-assisted oxidation were investigated. To investigate the changes in the electronic structure and electrical characteristics caused by the interfacial reaction between the SiO 2 film (thickness ∼5 nm) and SiC, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), density functional theory (DFT) calculations, and electrical measurements were performed. The SiO 2 films grown via direct plasma-assisted oxidation at room temperature for 300s exhibited significantly decreased concentrations of silicon oxycarbides (SiO x C y) in the transition layer compared to that of conventionally grown (i.e., thermally grown) SiO 2 films. Moreover, the plasma-assisted SiO 2 films exhibited enhanced electrical characteristics, such as reduced frequency dispersion, hysteresis, and interface trap density (D it ‰ 1011 cm-2 · eV --1). In particular, stress induced leakage current (SILC) characteristics showed that the generation of defect states can be dramatically suppressed in metal oxide semiconductor (MOS) structures with plasma-assisted oxide layer due to the formation of stable Si-O bonds and the reduced concentrations of SiOx Cy species defect states in the transition layer. That is, energetically stable interfacial states of high quality SiO 2 on SiC can be obtained by the controlling the formation of SiO x C y through the highly reactive direct plasma-assisted oxidation process.
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