The present paper discusses the four-point bending technique employed at The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) to characterize adhesion strength of ultra low-k dielectric materials to CVD barrier layers. Adhesion energy between an ultra low-k dielectric material and a barrier layer was measured as a function of porosity (2.0 < k < 2.3). It was found that the fracture energy decreases with the dielectric constant, which correlates with mechanical properties such as Young's modulus and hardness. Adhesion measurement data was also obtained for different lowk / barrier layer interfaces. The independence of interfacial fracture energy on the type of interface suggests that cohesive failure occurs in the low-k material layer and not at the interface. In addition, the very low fracture energies (G < 3 J/2) confirm the weak mechanical properties of such highly porous materials. Experimental results are illustrated with analysis of failure surfaces using Auger Electron Spectroscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy.
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