A comparative study of sputtered TaCx and WCx films as diffusion barriers between Cu and Si

Shui Jinn Wang, Hao Yi Tsai, S. C. Sun

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11 Citations (Scopus)


The barrier properties of sputter-deposited tantalum carbide (TaCx) and tungsten carbide (WCx) for Cu metallization were investigated and compared. The incorporation of the C atom is shown to be effective in decorating local defects of the barrier layer and improving the thermal stability of the Cu/barrier/Si contact system. Owing to a higher melting point and better chemical inertness, with respect to Si substrate, the TaCx (600 Å) film shows a better thermal stability (up to 650°C) than that of WCx (∼600°C) film based on material analyses, while the highest stable temperature as evaluated by the n+ p-diode leakage measurement is found to be approximately 550°C for the TaCx and 500°C for the WCx barrier layer. The failure of the TaCx and WCx barriers is found to be mainly due to Cu diffusion through the localized defects of the barrier layers into the Si substrate. The interfacial reaction between the WCx layer and the Si substrate is found to play an additional role in the failure of the WCx film.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-187
Number of pages9
JournalThin Solid Films
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Aug 15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry


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