We present experimental results regarding the thermodynamic stability of the high-k dielectrics ZrO2 and HfO2 in contact with Si and SiO2. The HfO2/Si interface is found to be stable with respect to formation of silicides whereas the ZrO2/Si interface is not. The metal oxide/SiO2 interface is marginally unstable with respect to formation of silicates. Cross-sectional transmission electron micrographs expose formation of nodules, identified as silicides, across the polysilicon/ZrO2/Si interfaces but not for the interfaces with HfO2. For both ZrO2 and HfO2, the X-ray photoemission spectra illustrate formation of silicate-like compounds in the MO2/SiO2 interface.
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