On the origin of the premature breakdown of thermal oxide on 3C-SiC probed by electrical scanning probe microscopy
The dielectric breakdown (BD) of thermal oxide (SiO2) grown on cubic silicon carbide (3C-SiC) was investigated comparing the electrical behavior of macroscopic metal–oxidesemiconductor (MOS) capacitors with nanoscale current and capacitance mapping using conductive atomic force (C-AFM) and scanning capacitance microscopy (SCM). Spatially resolved statistics of the oxide BD events by C-AFM revealed that the extrinsic premature BD is correlated to the presence of peculiar extended defects, the anti-phase boundaries (APBs), in the 3C-SiC layer. SCM analyses showed a larger carrier density at the stacking faults (SFs) the 3C-SiC, that can be explained by a locally enhanced density of states in the conduction band. On the other hand, a local increase of minority carriers concentration was deduced for APBs, indicating that they behave as conducting defects having also the possibility to trap positive charges. The results were explained with the local electric field enhancement in correspondence of positively charged defects.