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We consider radiation-induced charge trapping in SiO2 dielectric layers, primarily from the point of view of CMOS devices. However, SiO2 insulators are used in many other ways, and the same defects occur in other contexts. The key studies, which determined the nature of the oxide charge traps, were done primarily on gate oxides in CMOS devices, because that was the main radiation problem in CMOS at one time. There are two major reviews of radiation-induced oxide charge trapping already in the literature, which discuss the subject in far greater detail than is possible here. The first of these was by McLean et al. in 1989, and the second, ten years later, was intended as an update, because of additional, new work that had been reported. Basically, the picture that has emerged is that ionizing radiation creates electron-hole pairs in the oxide, and the electrons have much higher mobility than the holes. Therefore, the electrons are swept out of the oxide very rapidly by any field that is present, leaving behind any holes that escape the initial recombination process. These holes then undergo a polaron hopping transport toward the Si/SiO2 interface (under positive bias). Near the interface, some fraction of them fall into deep, relatively stable, long-lived hole traps. The nature and annealing behavior of these hole traps is the main focus of this paper.
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