Copper diffusion barrier deposition on integrated circuit devices by atomic layer deposition technique

Kai-Erik Elers
Abstract & Cover

Transfer from aluminum to copper metallization and decreasing feature size of integrated circuit devices generated a need for new diffusion barrier process. Copper metallization comprised entirely new process flow with new materials such as low-k insulators and etch stoppers, which made the diffusion barrier integration demanding. Atomic Layer Deposition technique was seen as one of the most promising techniques to deposit copper diffusion barrier for future devices. Atomic Layer Deposition technique was utilized to deposit titanium nitride, tungsten nitride, and tungsten nitride carbide diffusion barriers. Titanium nitride was deposited with a conventional process, and also with new in situ reduction process where titanium metal was used as a reducing agent. Tungsten nitride was deposited with a well-known process from tungsten hexafluoride and ammonia, but tungsten nitride carbide as a new material required a new process chemistry. In addition to material properties, the process integration for the copper metallization was studied making compatibility experiments on different surface materials. Based on these studies, titanium nitride and tungsten nitride processes were found to be incompatible with copper metal. However, tungsten nitride carbide film was compatible with copper and exhibited the most promising properties to be integrated for the copper metallization scheme. The process scale-up on 300 mm wafer comprised extensive film uniformity studies, which improved understanding of non-uniformity sources of the ALD growth and the process-specific requirements for the ALD reactor design. Based on these studies, it was discovered that the TiN process from titanium tetrachloride and ammonia required the reactor design of perpendicular flow for successful scale-up. The copper metallization scheme also includes process steps of the copper oxide reduction prior to the barrier deposition and the copper seed deposition prior to the copper metal deposition. Easy and simple copper oxide reduction process was developed, where the substrate was exposed gaseous reducing agent under vacuum and at elevated temperature. Because the reduction was observed efficient enough to reduce thick copper oxide film, the process was considered also as an alternative method to make the copper seed film via copper oxide reduction 

Source of Information
FinALD40 exhibition material,
University of Helsinki, Department of Chemistry, Laboratory of Inorganic Chemistry
(Helsinki, Finland)
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