Nano-crystallization Inhibition in 5 Nm Ru Film Diffusion Barriers for Advanced Cu-interconnect

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As the semiconductor industries are moving beyond 22 nm node technology, the currently used stacked Ta/TaN diffusion barrier including a copper seed will be unable to fulfill the requirements for the future technologies. Due to its low resistivity and ability to perform galvanic copper fill without a seed layer, ruthenium (Ru) has emerged as a potential copper diffusion barrier. However, its crystallization and columnar nanostructure have been the main cause of barrier failures even at low processing temperatures (300 oC -350 oC). In this study, we have proposed and evaluated three different strategies to improve the performance of the ultrathin ... continued below

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Sharma, Bed P. December 2013.

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As the semiconductor industries are moving beyond 22 nm node technology, the currently used stacked Ta/TaN diffusion barrier including a copper seed will be unable to fulfill the requirements for the future technologies. Due to its low resistivity and ability to perform galvanic copper fill without a seed layer, ruthenium (Ru) has emerged as a potential copper diffusion barrier. However, its crystallization and columnar nanostructure have been the main cause of barrier failures even at low processing temperatures (300 oC -350 oC). In this study, we have proposed and evaluated three different strategies to improve the performance of the ultrathin Ru film as a diffusion barrier for copper. The first study focused on shallow surface plasma irradiation/amorphization and nitridation of 5 nm Ru films. Systematic studies of amorphization and nitrogen incorporation versus sample bias were performed. XPS, XRD and RBS were used to determine the physico-chemical, crystallization and barrier efficiency of the plasma modified Ru barrier. The nitrogen plasma surface irradiation of Ru films at substrate bias voltage of -350 V showed an improved barrier performance up to 400 oC annealing temperatures. The barrier barely started failing at 450 oC due mainly to nitrogen instability. The second study involved only amorphization of the Ru thin film without any nitrogen incorporation. A low energy ion beam irradiation/amorphization on Ru thin film was carried out by using 60 KeV carbon ions with different irradiation doses. The irradiation energy was chosen high enough so that the irradiation ions pass through the whole Ru thin film and stop in the SiO2/Si support substrate. The C-ion fluence of 5×1016 atoms/cm2 at 60 KeV made the Ru film near amorphous without changing its composition. XRD and RBS were used to determine the relationship between crystallization and barrier efficiency of the carbon irradiated Ru barrier. The amorphized Ru film showed an improved barrier performance up to 400 oC annealing temperatures similar to the plasma nitrided Ru films. The barrier barely began to fail at 450 oC due mainly to crystallization. The third study focused on a study of Al doping of nitrided Ru thin films and their crystallinity with the aim of obtaining a completely amorphous Ru based barrier and stable nitridation. The addition of 4% Al and 14% of nitrogen in Ru produced a near amorphous film. Nitrogen in the film remained stable until the annealing temperature of 450 oC for 10 min in N2 atmosphere. Crystallization growth of the film was inhibited until 450 oC. At 500 oC, the crystallization of the Ru films barely started, but the degree of its crystallization is minimal. The Ru-Al-N film was demonstrated to be an effective diffusion barrier for copper until the annealing temperature of 450 oC and began to fail at 500 oC. The Al doping was shown to stabilize the nitrogen in the Ru thin film barrier inhibiting its crystallization and leading to improved diffusion barrier performance and a gain in processing temperatures of 150 oC -200 oC over the as prepared pure Ru thin film barriers.

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  • December 2013

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  • Nov. 8, 2014, 11:56 a.m.

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  • Nov. 15, 2016, 10:27 p.m.

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Sharma, Bed P. Nano-crystallization Inhibition in 5 Nm Ru Film Diffusion Barriers for Advanced Cu-interconnect, dissertation, December 2013; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc407743/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .