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Environmental Effects on Crack Characteristics for OSG Interconnect Materials

Jeannette Jacques's picture

Jeannette M. Jacques, Ting Y. Tsui, Andrew J. McKerrow, and Robert Kraft

To improve capacitance delay performance of the advanced back-end-of-line (BEOL) structures, low dielectric constant organosilicate glass (OSG) has emerged as the predominant choice for intermetal insulator. The material has a characteristic tensile residual stress and low fracture toughness. A potential failure mechanism for this class of low-k dielectric films is catastrophic fracture due to channel cracking. During fabrication, channel cracks can also form in a time-dependent manner due to exposure to a particular environmental condition, commonly known as stress-corrosion cracking. Within this work, the environmental impacts of pressure, ambient, temperature, solution pH, and solvents upon the channel cracking of OSG thin films are characterized. Storage under high vacuum conditions and exposure to flowing dry nitrogen gas can significantly lower crack propagation rates. Cracking rates experience little fluctuation as a function of solution pH; however, exposure to aqueous solutions can increase the growth rate by three orders of magnitude.

Mater. Res. Soc. Symp. Proc. , Vol. 875, Warrendale, PA, 2005, O10.6.1

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