The scaling of BEOL interconnect technology in ULSI circuitry requires the integration of Cu wiring with ultra-low K (ULK) dielectrics. We present the results of a study of the interaction between different-stoichiometry Ta(N)/Cu barrier processes and porous ULK dielectrics (k=2.4) at 32nm groundrules Auger and diffraction analysis of blanket wafers was used to benchmark two different stoichiometries of TaN barrier deposited using commercially-available ionized PVD sources. Comparison TEM and EDX/EELS images indicates that barrier oxidation is occurring in the low nitrogen-content Ta(N) barrier, which is absent at the higher stoichiometry. These differences are further manifested in defect-density analysis of patterned wafers comparing the two processes. These results illustrate the critical importance the TaN barrier properties play in enabling the integration of Cu/ULK interconnects at 32nm at beyond.