Boron nitride has the potential to form a 2D crystalline material with an hexagonal structure. And it was in this area that researchers had been working before coming across the properties of the amorphous form of the material. The researchers are from Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT), the University of Cambridge, the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) and Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2, Spain). The team has published a paper about the properties of amorphous boron-nitride (a-BN) in Nature.
The team has shown that a-BN can be deposited from plasma as thin film with dielectric constant of 1.78, a high breakdown voltage and superior metal barrier properties. With the dielectric constant 30 percent lower than that of currently available insulators that makes a-BN a candidate for next-generation ICs.
The pursuit of low-k dielectrics has resulted in experimentation around porous structures but as geometries continue to shrink this becomes less viable and also produces mechanically weak layers within ICs.
The researchers synthesized 3nm thin a-BN layer on a Si substrate, using low temperature remote inductively coupled plasma-chemical vapour deposition (ICP-CVD).
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