We report a study on the properties of Ionized Metal Plasma (IMP) Ta, Ta(N) and multi-layer Ta/Ta(N) based on a comparative evaluation of their performance as diffusion barriers in Cu based metallization schemes. The film structures used in this study are: IMP Cu(2000Å)/IMP Ta(250Å)/Si; IMP Cu(2000Å)/IMP Ta(N)(250Å)/Si; and IMP Cu(2000Å)/IMP multi-layer Ta/Ta(N)(250Å)/Si. The samples were annealed in N2 ambient at 500 °C, 550°C, 600°C and 650°C, respectively, for 30 minutes. The failure behavior and film properties of different barriers were investigated using MetaPULSE, Film stress measurement (FSM), Four-point probe (FPP), X-ray diffractometry (XRD), Field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) and Transmission electron microscopy (TEM). It has been observed clearly from the sheet resistance measurements that failures of Ta(N) and Ta barriers occurred at 550°C and 600°C respectively, whereas the multi-layer Ta/Ta(N) could still survive from the annealing up to 650°C. Evidence showing the formation of Cu3Si in the failed film stacks was found from XRD spectra. Based on our studies, it can be concluded that microstructures of the barriers has the major effects on preventing Cu from diffusing through them to react with Si and this makes the multi-layer Ta/Ta(N), in overall, superior to the other two Ta and Ta(N) barriers.