Properties of reactively sputter-deposited TaN thin films

Xin Sun, Elzbieta Kolawa, Jen Sue Chen, Jason S. Reid, Marc A. Nicolet

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141 Citations (Scopus)


We deposited TaN films by reactive r.f. sputtering from a Ta target with an N2Ar gas mixture. Alloys over a composition range 0-60 at.% N have been synthesized. We report on their composition, structure and electrical resistivity before and after vacuum annealing in the temperature range 500-800 °C. We found that the film growth rate decreases with increasing ratio of the nitrogen flow rate to the total flow rate, while the nitrogen content in the films first increases with the N2 partial flow rate and then saturates at about 60 at.%. B.c.c.-Ta, Ta2N, TaN and Ta5N6 appear in succession as the nitrogen content rises, with Ta2N being the only single-phase film obtained. The atomic density of the films generally increases with the nitrogen content in the film. Transmission electron micrographs show that the grain size decreases from about 25 to 4 nm as the nitrogen concentration increases from 20 to 50 at.%. The Ta2N phase can exist over a wide range of nitrogen concentration from about 25 to 45 at.%. For as-deposited films an amorphous phase exists along with polycrystalline Ta2N in the center portion of that range. This phase crystallizes after vacuum annealing at 600 °C for 65 min. A diagram of stable and metastable phases for TaN films based on X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy results is constructed. The resistivity is below 0.3 m ohms cm for films with 0-50 at.% N and changes little upon vacuum annealing at 800 °C.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-351
Number of pages5
JournalThin Solid Films
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1993 Dec 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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