Plasma surface interactions at interlayer dielectric (ILD) and metal surfaces
In this dissertation, remote plasma interactions with the surfaces of low-k interlayer dielectric (ILD), Cu and Cu adhesion layers are investigated. The first part of the study focuses on the simultaneous plasma treatment of ILD and chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) Cu surfaces using N2/H2 plasma processes. H atoms and radicals in the plasma react with the carbon groups leading to carbon removal for the ILD films. Results indicate that an N2 plasma forms an amide-like layer on the surface which apparently leads to reduced carbon abstraction from an H2 plasma process. In addition, FTIR spectra indicate the formation of hydroxyl (Si-OH) groups following the plasma exposure. Increased temperature (380 °C) processing leads to a reduction of the hydroxyl group formation compared to ambient temperature processes, resulting in reduced changes of the dielectric constant. For CMP Cu surfaces, the carbonate contamination was removed by an H2 plasma process at elevated temperature while the C-C and C-H contamination was removed by an N2 plasma process at elevated temperature. The second part of this study examined oxide stability and cleaning of Ru surfaces as well as consequent Cu film thermal stability with the Ru layers. The ~2 monolayer native Ru oxide was reduced after H-plasma processing. The thermal stability or islanding of the Cu film on the Ru substrate was characterized by in-situ XPS. After plasma cleaning of the Ru adhesion layer, the deposited Cu exhibited full coverage. In contrast, for Cu deposition on the Ru native oxide substrate, Cu islanding was detected and was described in terms of grain boundary grooving and surface and interface energies. The thermal stability of 7 nm Ti, Pt and Ru ii interfacial adhesion layers between a Cu film (10 nm) and a Ta barrier layer (4 nm) have been investigated in the third part. The barrier properties and interfacial stability have been evaluated by Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS). Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to measure the surfaces before and after annealing, and all the surfaces are relatively smooth excluding islanding or de-wetting phenomena as a cause of the instability. The RBS showed no discernible diffusion across the adhesion layer/Ta and Ta/Si interfaces which provides a stable underlying layer. For a Ti interfacial layer RBS indicates that during 400 °C annealing Ti interdiffuses through the Cu film and accumulates at the surface. For the Pt/Cu system Pt interdiffuion is detected which is less evident than Ti. Among the three adhesion layer candidates, Ru shows negligible diffusion into the Cu film indicating thermal stability at 400 °C.