Journal of Materials Research

Plasticity contributions to interface adhesion in thin-film interconnect structures

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The effects of plasticity in thin copper layers on the interface fracture resistance in thin-film interconnect structures were explored using experiments and multiscale simulations. Particular attention was given to the relationship between the intrinsic work of adhesion, Go, and the measured macroscopic fracture energy, Gc. Specifically, the TaN/SiO2 interface fracture energy was measured in thin-film Cu/TaN/SiO2 structures in which the Cu layer was varied over a wide range of thickness. A continuum/FEM model with cohesive surface elements was employed to calculate the macroscopic fracture energy of the layered structure. Published yield properties together with a plastic flow model for the metal layers were used to predict the plasticity contribution to interface fracture resistance where the film thickness (0.25-2.5 μm) dominated deformation behavior. For thicker metal layers, a transition region was identified in which the plastic deformation and associated plastic energy contributions to Gc were no longer dominated by the film thickness. The effects of other salient interface parameters including peak cohesive stress and Go are explored.