Journal of Applied Physics

Impact of nanosecond laser annealing on vacancies in electroplated Cu films studied by monoenergetic positron beams

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Positron annihilation was used to probe vacancy-type defects in electrodeposited Cu films after nanosecond pulse laser annealing. For the as-deposited Cu film, we identified the coexistence of two different vacancy-type defects, vacancy clusters (such as V16) and monovacancy-type defects, coupled with impurities. An enlargement in the vacancy size was observed after the laser annealing process. The size of these defects was estimated to be close to V30, and such defects could not be formed by conventional furnace annealing. After furnace annealing at 400 °C, the size of the larger vacancy clusters decreased, but that of the smaller vacancies increased. The observed change in the sizes of vacancies is considered to be related to interactions between vacancies and impurities. The depth profile of the defects varied by changing the laser energy density and the number of laser shots. The impact of laser annealing on the vacancy-type defects was observed even after furnace annealing at 800 °C. Because the presence of point defects in electroplated Cu directly correlates with electromigration and grain growth, the ability of laser annealing to introduce large vacancy clusters in the localized region shows the potential of nanosecond laser annealing as a low-thermal budget process tool for back-end-of-line materials.