The discharge of MNOS memory devices at zero or low gate voltages is studied theoretically and experimentally. A theory based on direct tunneling of charge carriers from traps in the silicon nitride layer into the silicon describes the experiments quite well. The discharge process is found to be logarithmic in time, starting at a certain time, iftd, which is exponentially dependent on the oxide thickness, and ending at another time, extrapolated to much larger than 10 years. Some implications of the discharge model are discussed. © 1973.
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