Ultra-fine grained copper with a large amount of nano-scale twin boundaries has high mechanical strength and maintains normal electrical conductivity. The combination of these properties may lead to promising applications in future Si microelectronic technology, especially as interconnect material for air-gap and free-standing copper technologies. Based on first principles calculations of total energy and in-situ stress measurements, high stress followed by stress relaxation during the Cu film deposition seems to have contributed to nanotwin formation. Nanoindentation studies have shown a larger hardness for copper with a higher nanotwin density. The effect of Cu nanotwin boundaries on grain growth was investigated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The presence of a high density of nanotwin boundaries may improve the reliability of Cu interconnects.
- First principles calculations
- Free-standing Cu interconnect