Physical Review Applied

First-Principles Evaluation of fcc Ruthenium for its use in Advanced Interconnects

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As the semiconductor industry turns to alternative conductors to replace Cu for future interconnect nodes, much attention has been focused on evaluating the electrical performance of Ru. The typical hcp phase has been extensively studied, but relatively little attention has been paid to the fcc phase, which has been shown to nucleate in confined structures and may be present in tight-pitch interconnects. Using ab initio techniques, we benchmark the performance of fcc Ru. We find that the phonon-limited bulk resistivity of the fcc Ru is less than half of that of hcp Ru, a feature we trace back to the stronger electron-phonon coupling elements in hcp Ru that are geometrically inherited from the modified Fermi-surface shape of the fcc crystal. Despite this benefit of the fcc phase, high grain-boundary scattering results in increased resistivity compared to Cu-based interconnects with similar average grain size. We find, however, that the line resistance of fcc Ru is lower than that of Cu below 21-nm linewidth due to the conductor volume lost to adhesion and wetting liners. In addition to studying bulk transport properties, we evaluate the performance of adhesion liners for fcc Ru. We find that it is energetically more favorable for fcc Ru to bind directly to silicon dioxide than through conventional adhesion liners such as TaN and TiN. In the case that a thin liner is necessary for the Ru deposition technique, we find that the vertical resistance penalty of a liner for fcc Ru can be up to eight times lower than that calculated for conventional liners used for Cu interconnects. Our calculations, therefore, suggest that the formation of the fcc phase of Ru may be beneficial for advanced, low-resistance interconnects.