Atomic layer deposited HfO2 films void and exhibit poor electrical characteristics when annealed at high temperature unless a TiN capping layer is used. The TiN is removed prior to characterization of the dielectric. The authors find that capped HfO2 films annealed at 1000°C by rapid thermal process are smooth and void-free. The microstructure of HfO2 is modified from fully monoclinic to a mixed monoclinic and tetragonal phase when the capping layer is used. Conducting atomic force microscopy performed on these films shows fewer areas with high leakage current. MoHfO2 capacitors show improved CV characteristics and lower leakage current density.

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