Control of the Cu morphology on Ru-passivated and Ru-doped TaN surfaces – promoting growth of 2D conducting copper for CMOS interconnects

Cara-Lena Nies, Suresh Kondati Natarajan, Michael Nolan

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5 Citations (Scopus)
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Prolonging the lifetime of Cu as a level 1 and level 2 interconnect metal in future nanoelectronic devices is a significant challenge as device dimensions continue to shrink and device structures become more complex. At nanoscale dimensions Cu exhibits high resistivity which prevents its functioning as a conducting wire and prefers to form non-conducting 3D islands. Given that changing from Cu to an alternative metal is challenging, we are investigating new materials that combine properties of diffusion barriers and seed liners to reduce the thickness of this layer and to promote successful electroplating of Cu to facilitate the coating of high-aspect ratio interconnect vias and to allow for optimal electrical conductance. In this study we propose new combined barrier/liner materials based on modifying the surface layer of the TaN barrier through Ru incorporation. Simulating a model Cu29 structure at 0 K and through finite temperature ab initio molecular dynamics on these surfaces allows us to demonstrate how the Ru content can control copper wetting, adhesion and thermal stability properties. Activation energies for atom migrations onto a nucleating copper island allow insight into the growth mechanism of a Cu thin-film. Using this understanding allows us to tailor the Ru content on TaN to control the final morphology of the Cu film. These Ru-modified TaN films can be deposited by atomic layer deposition, allowing for fine control over the film thickness and composition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-725
Number of pages13
JournalChemical Science
Issue number3
Early online date13 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 21 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge support for this work from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) through the SFI-Natural National Science Foundation China Partnership, project NITRALD, Grant Number 17/NSFC/5279. We acknowledge support from the Irish Centre for High End Computing (ICHEC) for access to computing facilities.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Royal Society of Chemistry.


  • General Chemistry


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