Investigations of failure mechanisms at Ta and TaO diffusion barriers by secondary neutral mass spectrometry

A. Lakatos, A. Csik, G. A. Langer, G. Erdelyi, G. L. Katona, L. Daroczi, K. Vad, J. Toth, D. L. Beke

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One of the most important processes in Cu metallization for highly integrated circuits is to fabricate reliable diffusion barriers. Recently, thin films made of refractory metals and their compounds have been widely used in solid-state electronics as barriers because of their good electric properties, favourable thermal properties and chemical stability. Thermal stability of Tantalum (Ta) and Tantalum-oxide (TaOx) layers as a diffusion barrier in Si/Ta/Cu, Si/TaOx/Cu and Si/Ta-TaOx/Cu systems have been investigated. Si/Ta (10 nm)/Cu (25 nm)/W (10 nm), Si/TaOx (10 nm)/Cu (25 nm)/W (10 nm) and Si/Ta (5 nm)TaOx (5 nm)/Cu (25 nm)/W (10 nm) thin layers were prepared by DC magnetron sputtering. A tungsten cap layer was applied to prevent the oxidation of the samples during the annealing process. The samples were annealed at various temperatures (473 K-973 K) in vacuum. Transmission Electron Microscopy, X-ray diffraction, X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy and Secondary Neutral Mass Spectrometry were used to characterize the microstructure and diffusion properties of the thin films. Our results show that at the beginning phase of the degradation of the Si/Ta/Cu system Ta atoms migrate through the copper film to the W/Cu interface. In the Si/TaOx/Cu system the crystallization of TaO and the diffusion of Si through the barrier determine the thermal stability. The Ta-TaO bilayer proved to be an excellent barrier layer between the Si and Cu films up to 1023 K. The observed outstanding performance of the combined film is explained by the continuous oxidation of Ta film in the TaOx-Ta bilayer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-133
Number of pages4
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 25 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films

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