The industry is strongly interested in integrating low-κ dielectrics with Damascene copper. Otherwise, with conventional materials, interconnects cannot continue to scale without limiting circuit performance. Integration of copper wiring with silicon dioxide (oxide) requires barrier encapsulation since copper drifts readily in oxide. An important aspect of integrating copper wiring with low-κ dielectrics is the drift behavior of copper ions in these dielectrics, which will directly impact the barrier requirements and hence integration complexity.
This work evaluates and compares the copper drift properties in six low-κ organic polymer dielectrics: parylene-F; benzocyclobutene; fluorinated polyimide; an aromatic hydrocarbon; and two varieties of poly(arylene ether). Copper/oxide/polymer/oxide/silicon capacitors are subjected to bias-temperature stress to accelerate penetration of copper from the gate electrode into the polymer. The oxide-sandwiched dielectric stack is used to overcome interface instabilities occurring when a low-κ dielectric is in direct contact with either the gate metal or silicon substrate. The copper drift rates in the various polymers are estimated by electrical techniques, including capacitance-voltage, current-voltage, and current-time measurements. Results correlate well with timeto-breakdown obtained by stressing the capacitor dielectrics. Our study shows that copper ions drift readily into fluorinated polyimide and poly(arylene ether), more slowly into parylene-F, and even more slowly into benzocyclobutene. A qualitative comparison of the chemical structures of the polymers suggests that copper drift in these polymers may possibly be retarded by increased crosslinking and enhanced by polarity in the polymer.