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The Effect of Formation Conditions on the Structural and Electrical Properties of Ultrathin Cobalt Silicide Films

  • Julia M. Phillips (a1), J. L. Batstone (a1), J. C. Hensel (a1), M. Cerullo (a1) and F. C. Unterwald (a1)...


We have studied the dependence of the structural and electrical properties of ultrathin cobalt silicide films on the annealing temperature and deposited Co thickness.

We recently reported that coherent, electrically continuous films of CoSi2 could be grown on Si(111) with thicknesses as small as 1 nm.1 The thinnest of these films had a high density of pinholes which covered about 20% of the area of the substrate. The resistivity of the films increased dramatically with decreasing thickness in a manner which was qualitatively consistent with quantum size effects. In order to investigate the dependence of both the pinhole density and the resistivity of ultrathin CoSi2 films on Si(111), we have deposited different thicknesses of Co onto near room temperature (<100°C) Si(111) substrates and have annealed the samples at different temperatures in order to study the effect of silicide formation conditions on the structural and electrical properties of the resulting films.

Co layers were deposited onto Si(111) wafers in a molecular beam epitaxy apparatus as described previously.1 In our earlier work, CoSi2 was formed by heating the sample to ∼600°C for a few seconds after Co deposition. Because higher temperature anneals are known to lead to pinhole formation in thicker films,2 annealing temperatures in the present experiments were constrained to be 600° or less. The reaction time was on the order of 5 minutes. The layers were examined using plan-view transmission electron microscopy (TEM) in order to avoid beam heating and ion beam mixing effects which might cause artefacts in cross-section TEM observation.

The results of our experiments are summarized in Figure 1. The figure indicates the silicide phases found in a film as a function of deposited Co thickness and annealing temperature. The numbers in each square correspond to the residual resistivity, ρo, measured for each film. Perhaps the most striking finding of this study is the abrupt change in the structure of the films between 0.7 and 1.4 nm of deposited Co. For all temperatures investigated (including near room temperature), films formed by depositing less than 1 nm of Co form CoSi2 immediately upon deposition. (For films approaching this thickness, there is also a small amount of Co2Si which persists at all temperatures



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1. Phillips, J. M., Batstone, J. L., Hensel, J. C., and Cerullo, M., Appl. Phys. Lett. (in press).
2. Tung, R. T., Levi, A. F. J., and Gibson, J. M., Appl. Phys. Lett. 48, 635 (1986).
3. Veuillen, J. Y., Derrien, J., Badoz, P. A., Rosencher, E., and d'Anterroches, C., Appl. Phys. Lett. 51, 1448 (1987).
4. Gibson, J. M., Batstone, J. L., and Tung, R. T., Appl. Phys. Lett. 51, 45 (1987).
5. Nava, F., Tu, K. N., Mazzega, E., Michelini, M., and Queriolo, G., J. Appl. Phys. 61, 1085 (1987); M. A. Nicolet and S. S. Lau, in VLSI Electronics: Microstructure Science, Treatise edited by N. G. Einspruch, volume edited by N. G. Einspruch and G. B. Larabee (Academic, New York, 1983), Vol. 6, p. 330.


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