Methodology for extraction of space charge density profiles at nanoscale from Kelvin probe force microscopy measurements

Abstract : To understand the physical phenomena occurring at metal/dielectric interfaces, determination of the charge density profile at nanoscale is crucial. To deal with this issue, charges were injected applying a DC voltage on lateral Al-electrodes embedded in a SiN x thin dielectric layer. The surface potential induced by the injected charges was probed by Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM). It was found that the KPFM frequency mode is a better adapted method to probe accurately the charge profile. To extract the charge density profile from the surface potential two numerical approaches based on the solution to Poisson's equation for electrostatics were investigated: the second derivative model method, already reported in the literature, and a new 2D method based on the finite element method (FEM). Results highlight that the FEM is more robust to noise or artifacts in the case of a non-flat initial surface potential. Moreover, according to theoretical study the FEM appears to be a good candidate for determining charge density in dielectric films with thicknesses in the range from 10 nm to 10 μm. By applying this method, the charge density profile was determined at nanoscale, highlighting that the charge cloud remains close to the interface.
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C. Villeneuve-Faure, L. Boudou, K. Makasheva, G. Teyssedre. Methodology for extraction of space charge density profiles at nanoscale from Kelvin probe force microscopy measurements. Nanotechnology, Institute of Physics, 2017, 28 (50), pp.505701. ⟨10.1088/1361-6528/aa9839⟩. ⟨hal-02324308⟩

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