Crystalline and liquid Si3 N4 characterization by ﬁrst-principles molecular dynamics simulations
Numonyx now Micron, via Olivetti 2, Agrate Brianza ( MI), Italy
2 ENEA, C. R. Casaccia, via Anguillarese 301, 00123 Rome, Italy
a e-mail: email@example.com
Silicon nitride (Si3 N4) has a wide range of engineering applications where its mechanical and electronic properties can be eﬀectively exploited. In particular, in the microelectronics ﬁeld, the amorphous silicon nitride ﬁlms are widely used as charge storage layer in metal-alumina-nitrideoxide nonvolatile memory devices. Atomic structure of amorphous silicon nitride is characterized by an high concentration of traps that control the electric behavior of the ﬁnal device by the trappingde-trapping mechanism of the electrical charge occurring in its traps. In order to have a deep understanding of the material properties and, in particular, the nature of the electrical active traps a detailed numerical characterization of the crystalline and liquid phases is mandatory. For these reasons ﬁrst-principles molecular dynamics simulations are extensively employed to simulate the crystalline Si3 N4 in its crystalline and liquid phases. Good agreement with experimental results is obtained in terms of density and formation entalpy. Detailed characterization of c-Si3 N4 electronic properties is performed in terms of band structure and band gap. Then constant temperature and constant volume ﬁrst-principles molecular dynamics is used to disorder a stoichiometric sample of Si3 N4 . Extensive molecular dynamics simulations are performed to obtain a reliable liquid sample whose atomic structure does not depend on the starting atomic conﬁguration. Detailed characterization of the atomic structure is achieved in terms of radial distribution functions and total structure factor.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2011