Reduced fatigue and leakage of ferroelectric TiN/Hf0.5Zr0.5O2/TiN capacitors by thin alumina interlayers at the top or bottom interface

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • H. Alex Hsain - , North Carolina State University, NaMLab - Nanoelectronic materials laboratory gGmbH (Author)
  • Younghwan Lee - , Seoul National University (Author)
  • Suzanne Lancaster - , NaMLab - Nanoelectronic materials laboratory gGmbH (Author)
  • Patrick D. Lomenzo - , NaMLab - Nanoelectronic materials laboratory gGmbH (Author)
  • Bohan Xu - , NaMLab - Nanoelectronic materials laboratory gGmbH (Author)
  • Thomas Mikolajick - , Chair of Nanoelectronics, NaMLab - Nanoelectronic materials laboratory gGmbH (Author)
  • Uwe Schroeder - , NaMLab - Nanoelectronic materials laboratory gGmbH (Author)
  • Gregory N. Parsons - , North Carolina State University (Author)
  • Jacob L. Jones - , North Carolina State University (Author)


Hf0.5Zr0.5O2 (HZO) thin films are promising candidates for non-volatile memory and other related applications due to their demonstrated ferroelectricity at the nanoscale and compatibility with Si processing. However, one reason that HZO has not been fully scaled into industrial applications is due to its deleterious wake-up and fatigue behavior which leads to an inconsistent remanent polarization during cycling. In this study, we explore an interfacial engineering strategy in which we insert 1 nm Al2O3 interlayers at either the top or bottom HZO/TiN interface of sequentially deposited metal-ferroelectric-metal capacitors. By inserting an interfacial layer while limiting exposure to the ambient environment, we successfully introduce a protective passivating layer of Al2O3 that provides excess oxygen to mitigate vacancy formation at the interface. We report that TiN/HZO/TiN capacitors with a 1 nm Al2O3 at the top interface demonstrate a higher remanent polarization (2Pr ∼ 42 μC cm−2) and endurance limit beyond 108 cycles at a cycling field amplitude of 3.5 MV cm−1. We use time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry, energy dispersive spectroscopy, and grazing incidence x-ray diffraction to elucidate the origin of enhanced endurance and leakage properties in capacitors with an inserted 1 nm Al2O3 layer. We demonstrate that the use of Al2O3 as a passivating dielectric, coupled with sequential ALD fabrication, is an effective means of interfacial engineering and enhances the performance of ferroelectric HZO devices.


Original languageEnglish
Article number125703
Number of pages10
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2023

External IDs

PubMed 36538824
WOS 000913322700001
ORCID /0000-0003-3814-0378/work/142256342


DFG Classification of Subject Areas according to Review Boards

Subject groups, research areas, subject areas according to Destatis


  • AlO, ferroelectric, hafnia, interlayers, metal-ferroelectric-metal, thin film, Ferroelectric, Interlayers, Hafnia, Al2O3, Metal-ferroelectric-metal, Thin film

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