The role of Ru passivation and doping on the barrier and seed layer properties of Ru-modified TaN for copper interconnects

Suresh Kondati Natarajan, Cara-Lena Nies, Michael Nolan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Size reduction of the barrier and liner stack for copper interconnects is a major bottleneck in further down-scaling of transistor devices. The role of the barrier is to prevent diffusion of Cu atoms into the surrounding dielectric, while the liner (also referred to as a seed layer) ensures that a smooth Cu film can be electroplated. Therefore, a combined barrier + liner material that restricts the diffusion of Cu into the dielectric and allows for copper electro-deposition is needed. In this paper, we have explored barrier + liner materials composed of 1 and 2 monolayers (MLs) of Ru-passivated ϵ-TaN and Ru doped ϵ-TaN and focused on their interactions with Cu through the adsorption of small Cu clusters with 1–4 atoms. Moreover, different doping patterns for Ru doping in TaN are investigated to understand how selective doping of the ϵ-TaN surface influences surface stability. We found that an increased concentration of Ru atoms in the outermost Ta layer improves the adhesion of Cu. The strongest binding of the Cu atoms was found on the 100% Ru doped surface followed by the 1 ML Ru passivated surface. These two surfaces are recommended for the combined barrier + liner for Cu interconnects. The closely packed arrangements of Cu were found to exhibit weak Cu–slab and strong Cu–Cu interactions, whereas the sparse arrangements of Cu exhibit strong Cu–slab and weak Cu–Cu interactions. The Cu atoms seem to bind more favorably when they are buried in the doped or passivated surface layer due to the increase in their coordination number. This is facilitated by the surface distortion arising from the ionic radius mismatch between Ta and Ru. We also show that the strong Cu–Cu interaction alone cannot predict the association of Cu atoms as a few 2D Cu clusters showed stronger Cu–Cu interaction than the 3D clusters, highlighting the importance of Cu–surface interactions
Original languageEnglish
Article number144701
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number14
Early online date9 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished online - 9 Apr 2020


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