High-resolution characterization of TiN diffusion barrier layers
2015 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Titanium nitride (TiN) films are widely applied as diffusion barrier layers in microelectronic devices. The continued miniaturization of such devices not only poses new challenges to material systems design, but also puts high demands on characterization techniques. To gain understanding of diffusion processes that can eventually lead to failure of the barrier layer and thus of the whole device, it is essential to develop routines to chemically and structurally investigate these layers down to the atomic scale. In the present study, model TiN diffusion barriers with a Cu overlayer acting as the diffusion source were grown by reactive magnetron sputtering on MgO(001) and thermally oxidized Si(001) substrates. Cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy (XTEM) of the pristine samples revealed epitaxial, single-crystalline growth of TiN on MgO(001), while the polycrystalline TiN grown on Si(001) exhibited a -oriented columnar microstructure. Various annealing treatments were carried out to induce diffusion of Cu into the TiN layer. Subsequently, XTEM images were recorded with a high-angle annular dark field detector, which provides strong elemental contrast, to illuminate the correlation between the structure and the barrier efficiency of the single- and polycrystalline TiN layers. Particular regions of interest were investigated more closely by energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) mapping. These investigations are completed by atom probe tomography (APT) studies, which provide a three-dimensional insight into the elemental distribution at the near-interface region with atomic chemical resolution and high sensitivity. In case of the single-crystalline barrier, a uniform Cu-enriched diffusion layer of 12 nm could be detected at the interface after an annealing treatment at 1000 °C for 12 h. This excellent barrier performance can be attributed to the lack of fast diffusion paths such as grain boundaries. Moreover, density-functional theory calculations predict a stoichiometry-dependent atomic diffusion mechanism of Cu in bulk TiN, with Cu diffusing on the N-sublattice for the experimental N/Ti ratio. In comparison, the polycrystalline TiN layers exhibited grain boundaries reaching from the Cu-TiN interface to the substrate, thus providing direct diffusion paths for Cu. However, the microstructure of these columnar layers was still dense without open porosity or voids, so that the onset of grain boundary diffusion could only be found after annealing at 900 °C for 1 h.
The present study shows how to combine two high resolution state-of-the-art methods, TEM and APT, to characterize model TiN diffusion barriers. It is shown how to correlate the microstructure with the performance of the barrier layer by two-dimensional EDX mapping and three-dimensional APT. Highly effective Cu-diffusion barrier function is thus demonstrated for single-crystal TiN(001) (up to 1000 °C) and dense polycrystalline TiN (900 °C).
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. , 61 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1720
Diffusion, TiN, Microstructure, Transmission electron microscopy, TEM, Atom probe tomography, APT
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-120394DOI: 10.3384/lic.diva-120394ISBN: 978-91-7685-994-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-120394DiVA: diva2:844272
2015-08-28, Schrödinger, Fysikhuset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:00 (English)
Johnson, Lars, Dr.
Hultman, Lars, ProfessorMitterer, Christian, Professor
FunderKnut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation
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