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Thick gate oxide extrinsic breakdown – The potential role of neutral hydrogen atom



Kin (Charles) Cheung


Power electronics is currently a hot topic due to its important role in fighting climate change. Gate oxide breakdown is the Achilles heel of power devices and it is well known that extrinsic breakdown is the real concern. However, the root cause of extrinsic breakdown is poorly understood. Recently, a "lucky defect" model was introduced to explain extrinsic breakdown beyond the traditional "local thinning" model. In this work, the "lucky defect" model is further developed to allow it to examine the responsible defect's energy distribution. It is found that only defects with energy 1.5eV ± 0.3eV above the substrate conduction band can produce the breakdown distributions commonly reported. Few know defect can satisfy this requirement. An exception is the neutral hydrogen atom, and its known properties are consistent with experimental results in the literature. If confirmed, this is a very surprising result and has important implication on how to remedy extrinsic breakdown.
Power Electronic Devices and Components


thick oxide, extrinsic breakdown, atomic hydrogen, trap-assisted-tunneling


Cheung, K. (2022), Thick gate oxide extrinsic breakdown – The potential role of neutral hydrogen atom, Power Electronic Devices and Components, [online],, (Accessed April 17, 2024)
Created October 20, 2022, Updated November 29, 2022