Abstract: To extend the scaling limit of thermal SiO/sub 2/ in the ultrathin regime when the direct tunneling current becomes significant, members of this author's research team at Yale University, in collaboration with the Jet Process Corporation, embarked on a program to explore the potential of silicon nitride as an alternative gate dielectric. In this paper, high-quality silicon nitride (or oxynitride) films made by a novel jet vapor deposition (JVD) technique are described. The JVD process utilizes a high-speed jet of light carrier gas to transport the depositing species onto the substrate to form the desired films. The film composition has been determined to consist primarily of Si and N, with some amounts of O and H. Metal-nitride-Si (MNS) capacitors based on the JVD nitride films deposited directly on Si exhibit relatively low densities of interface traps, fixed charge, and bulk traps. The interface traps at the nitride/Si interface exhibit different properties from those at the SiO/sub 2//Si interface in several aspects. In contrast to the conventional CVD silicon nitride, the high-field I-V characteristics of the JVD silicon nitride fit the Fowler-Nordheim (F-N) tunneling theory over four to five orders of magnitude in current, but do not fit at all the Frenkel-Poole (F-P) transport theory. This is consistent with the much lower concentration of electronic traps in the JVD silicon nitride. Results from the carrier separation experiment indicate that electron current dominates the gate current with very little hole contribution. Both theoretical calculation and experimental data indicate that the gate leakage current in JVD silicon nitride is significantly lower than that in silicon dioxide of the same equivalent oxide thickness. The breakdown characteristics of the JVD nitride are also respectable. Compared to their MOSFET counterparts, MNS transistors exhibit reduced low-field transconductance but enhanced high-field transconductance, perhaps due to the presence of border traps. As expected, the JVD silicon nitride films exhibit very strong resistance to boron penetration and oxidation at high temperatures. These properties, coupled with its room-temperature deposition process, make JVD silicon nitride an attractive candidate to succeed thermal SiO/sub 2/ as an advanced gate dielectric in future generations of ULSI devices.