Applied Physics Letters

Electron scattering at interfaces in nano-scale vertical interconnects: A combined experimental and ab initio study

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We present a combined theoretical and experimental study on the electron transport characteristics across several representative interface structures found in back-end-of-line interconnect stacks for advanced semiconductor manufacturing: Cu/Ta(N)/Co/Cu and Cu/Ta(N)/Ru/Cu. In particular, we evaluate the impact of replacing a thin TaN barrier with Ta while considering both Co and Ru as wetting layers. Both theory and experiment indicate a pronounced reduction in vertical resistance when replacing TaN with Ta, regardless of whether a Co or Ru wetting layer is used. This indicates that a significant portion of the total vertical resistance is determined by electron scattering at the Cu/Ta(N) interface. The electronic structure of these nano-sized interconnects is analyzed in terms of the atom-resolved projected density of states and k-resolved transmission spectra at the Fermi level. This work further develops a fundamental understanding of electron transport and material characteristics in nano-sized interconnects.