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Sci Rep. 2019 May 14;9(1):7392. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-43344-x.

Phenomenological modelling of non-volatile memory threshold voltage shift induced by nonlinear ionization with a femtosecond laser.

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Aix-Marseille University, CNRS, IM2NP, F-13397, Marseille, France.
Aix-Marseille University, CNRS, LP3, F-13288, Marseille, France.
Aix-Marseille University, CNRS, IM2NP, F-13397, Marseille, France.


The behaviour of semiconductor materials and devices subjected to femtosecond laser irradiation has been under scrutiny, for many reasons, during the last decade. In particular, recent works have shown that the specific functionality and/or geometry of semiconductor devices, among which non-volatile memory (NVM) devices hold a special place, could be used to improve the knowledge about ultrafast laser-semiconductor interactions. So far, such an approach has been applied to draw conclusions about the spatio-temporal properties of laser propagation in bulk materials. Here, by comparing the evolution of the electrical characteristics of Flash cells under the cumulative effect of repeated femtosecond laser pulses with first-order physical considerations and TCAD (Technology Computer Aided Design) simulations, we clearly establish the role of the carriers created by nonlinear ionization on the functionality of the structures. The complete electrical analysis informs indirectly on the energy of the laser-produced free-carriers which, to date, was almost inaccessible by an experimental method applicable to the bulk of a material. Establishing the link between the carrier energy and laser parameters is of major importance to improve the comprehension of the nonlinear ionization mechanisms associated to intense laser-semiconductor interactions and applied in various fields from microelectronics to laser micromachining.

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