Determining the bonding environment at a rough interface, using for example the near-edge fine structure in electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS), is problematic since the measurement contains information from the interface and surrounding matrix phase. Here we present a novel analytical method for determining the interfacial EELS difference spectrum (with respect to the matrix phase) from a rough interface of unknown geometry, which, unlike multiple linear least squares (MLLS) fitting, does not require the use of reference spectra from suitable standards. The method is based on analysing a series of EELS spectra with variable interface to matrix volume fraction and, as an example, is applied to a TiN/poly-Si interface containing oxygen in a HfO2-based, high-k dielectric gate stack. A silicon oxynitride layer was detected at the interface consistent with previous results based on MLLS fitting
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