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Technique to Determine Grain Size on Deposited Thin Film

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000062622D
Original Publication Date: 1986-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-09
Document File: 2 page(s) / 109K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Gajda, JJ: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

This article describes an in-process applicable technique for delineating grain size on deposited thin film surfaces. It is operable on each level of a multi-level semiconductor metallurgy and avoids the time-consuming sample preparations required for Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) evaluations. Grain size determinations play an important role in monitoring the quality of Aluminum (Al) or Aluminum-Copper (Al-Cu) thin films used as conductor lines in multi-level semiconductor structures. Both grain size and Al2Cu intermetallic dispersion are also important in determining the susceptability of the metal film to corrosion. TEM, CVE (cathode vacuum etching) and other known methods for investigating thin film properties require considerable sample preparation time and are not applicable on a routine basis.

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Technique to Determine Grain Size on Deposited Thin Film

This article describes an in-process applicable technique for delineating grain size on deposited thin film surfaces. It is operable on each level of a multi-level semiconductor metallurgy and avoids the time-consuming sample preparations required for Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) evaluations. Grain size determinations play an important role in monitoring the quality of Aluminum (Al) or Aluminum-Copper (Al-Cu) thin films used as conductor lines in multi-level semiconductor structures. Both grain size and Al2Cu intermetallic dispersion are also important in determining the susceptability of the metal film to corrosion. TEM, CVE (cathode vacuum etching) and other known methods for investigating thin film properties require considerable sample preparation time and are not applicable on a routine basis. The disclosed technique, which uses sputter etching in an argon atmosphere to delineate grain size, overcomes these problems and can be employed on a routine basis to investigate Al, Cu, Al-Cu, Al-Si, Al-Si-Cu, Au and Mo metal films.

Figs. 1 and 2 show the grain boundaries, as revealed by the disclosed sputter etching technique, on both evaporated metal films and 2-mil Al wires.

(Image Omitted)

The process of sputter etching in an argon atmosphere for grain boundary delineation is specifically carried out under the following conditions: The surface of the specimen under investigation is bombarded with 3...