Journal of Materials Research

Mechanisms for enhanced C54-TiSi2 formation in Ti-Ta alloy films on single-crystal Si

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The mechanisms are studied for enhanced formation of C54-TiSi2 at about 700 °C when rapid thermal annealing at 3 °C/s in N2 is performed on 32-nm-thick codeposited Ti-5.9 at.% Ta on Si(100) single-crystal substrates. The enhancement is related to an increased C54-TiSi2 nucleation rate due to the development of a multilayered microstructure. The multilayer microstructure forms at temperatures below 600 °C with the formation of an amorphous disilicide adjacent to the Si substrate and a M5Si3 (M = Ti, Ta) capping layer. This amorphous disilicide crystallizes at higher temperatures to C49-TiSi2. The multilayer microstructure introduces an additional interface that increases the area available for the heterogeneous nucleation of C54. The capping layer is identified as hexagonal Ti5Si3 or its isomorphous compound (Ti1-xTax)5Si3. Crystal simulations demonstrate that C54(040) has a lattice mismatch of 6-7% relative to Ti5Si3(300) suggesting that a pseudomorphic epitaxial relationship may lower the interfacial energy between these two phases and reduce the energy barrier for C54 nucleation. A C40 disilicide phase was also observed at temperatures above that required to form C54-TiSi2 suggesting that, in the present experiments, the C40 phase does not play a major role in catalyzing C54 formation.