Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology B: Microelectronics and Nanometer Structures

Thin, high atomic weight refractory film deposition for diffusion barrier, adhesion layer, and seed layer applications

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Thin, nearly conformal films are required for semiconductor applications to function as diffusion barriers, adhesion layers and seed layers within trenches and vias. The deposition of high mass refractory films with conventional, noncollimated magnetron sputtering at low pressures shows better-than-expected conformality which is dependent on the degree of directionality of the depositing atoms: the conformality increases as the directionality increases. The primary cause appears to be a strongly angle-dependent reflection coefficient for the depositing metal atoms. As the deposition is made more directional by increasing the cathode-to-sample distance, the depositing atoms are more likely to reflect from the steep sidewalls, leading to better conformality as well as a less columnar film structure. © 1996 American Vacuum Society.