Gate oxide degradation induced by electron-beam irradiation has been studied. A large increase in the low-field excess leakage current was observed on irradiated oxides and this was very similar to electrical stress-induced leakage currents. Unlike conventional electrical stress-induced leakage currents, however, electron-beam induced leakage currents exhibit a power law relationship with fluency without any signs of saturation. It has also been found that the electron-beam neither accelerates nor initiates quasibreakdown of the ultrathin gate oxide. Therefore, the traps generated by electron-beam irradiation do not contribute to quasibreakdown, only to the leakage current. (C) 2000 American Institute of Physics. [S0021-8979(00)06923-1].