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Modifying silicon’s surface electronic properties with mechanical stress

par Anne-Marie - publié le

Mechanical stress is widely used in strained-silicon technologies to improve the performance of microelectronic devices. This relies on the fact that stress can be used to modify the so-called bulk electronic properties of silicon crystals. As device sizes shrink into the nanoscale, the surface electronic properties begin to dominate the overall device behaviour. With colleagues at the Soleil synchrotron, and using an experiment designed and fabricated in PMC’s mechanical workshop, we have measured the mechanical stress dependence of silicon’s surface electronic properties. A combination of Raman and photo-emission mapping on statically deflected silicon cantilevers is used to measure the stress-dependence of the surface Fermi level pinning. This stress dependence is measured spectroscopically for the first time, and is an important design parameter in the design of strained nano-silicon devices. The symmetry of the observed shifts may be related to the symmetry of the intrinsic defects occuring at the silicon/oxide interface.

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