Deepa Gazula


As technology progressed to ultra - large scale integration leading to smaller and smaller devices, there are continuous challenges in the fields of materials, processes and circuit designs. Copper is the interconnect material of choice because of its low electrical resistivity and high electromigration resistance. However, copper is quite mobile in silicon at elevated temperatures. Therefore, to prevent the diffusion of copper into silicon, a diffusion barrier layer that has fewer grain boundaries, good adhesion to Si and Si02, high thermal and electrical stability with respect to Cu is necessary. Tantalum nitride compounds have been investigated as potential barrier materials. TaN has a very high melting point of 2950C. It is thermodynamically stable with respect to Cu and has good adhesion to the substrate. It has a dense microstructure and shows good resistance to heavy mobility of Cu in Si and has electrical stability at temperatures upto 750 C. The diffusion barrier properties of Ta and its nitrides for copper metallization at RIT have been investigated. The TaNx films were reactively sputter deposited on Si02 substrates at various N2/AJ- ratios. The influence of nitrogen partial pressure on the electrical and structural properties of the films is studied. It has been observed that as deposited pure Ta is tetragonal, which becomes bcc-Ta with small increase in N2 flow to 5% of the sputtering gas mixture. When the nitrogen flow is increased from 12 up to 20%, amorphous and a mixture of amorphous and crystalline Ta2N phase is formed. The amorphous phase crystallizes when annealed to higher temperatures. An fee- TaN phase is formed at N2 flow of 30%. At higher concentrations of N2; nitrogen rich compounds like Ta5N6, Ta3N5 are formed. During backend semiconductor processing, both Cu and TaN films are subjected to various annealing treatments in N2, 02, and Ar at relatively high temperatures. Since these treatments influence the stability of the metallization it was important to establish the effect of the ambients on the integrity of the copper interconnect. The Cu/TaN/Si02 films were annealed to various temperatures up to 600 C in N2, Ar ambients for 20 min and the thermal stability and barrier effectiveness of the films was studied. Annealing the films to temperatures above 500 C cause de-lamination of films at the Cu/TaN interface, which is attributed to the formation of copper oxides with a high density of voids. This was observed by XRD analyis and SEM. RBS spectra showed diffusion of tantalum into the surface of copper at temperatures ~ 500 to 600 C. Therefore we can conclude that cubic TaN films act as stable barrier films up to 500 C in an inert ambient.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Tantalum films; Electronic packaging; Semiconductors--Junctions; Microelectronic packaging; Nitrides; Copper

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Center for Materials Science and Engineering


Blanton, Thomas

Advisor/Committee Member

Kurinec, Santosh

Advisor/Committee Member

Langner, Andreas


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