We have successfully grown epitaxial cubic (B1-NaCl structure) tantalum nitride films on Si (100) and (111) substrate using a pulsed laser deposition technique. A thin layer of titanium nitride was used as a buffer medium. We characterized these films using X-ray diffraction, high resolution transmission electron microscopy and scanning transmission electron microscopy (Zcontrast). X-ray diffraction and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy confirmed the single crystalline nature of these films with cubic-on-cubic epitaxy. The epitaxial relations follow TaN(100)//TiN(100)//Si(100) on Si(100) and TaN(111)//TiN(111)//Si(111) on Si(111). We observed sharp interfaces of TaN/TiN and TiN/Si without any indication of interfacial reaction. Rutherford backscattering experiments showed these films to be slightly nitrogen deficient (TaN0.95). High precision electrical resistivity measurements showed excellent metallic nature of these films. We also tried to deposit TaN directly on silicon, the films were found to be polycrystalline. In our method, TiN plays a key role in facilitating the epitaxial growth of TaN. This method exploits the concept of lattice matching epitaxy between TaN and TiN and domain matching epitaxy between TiN and Si. We studied the diffusion barrier properties of these films by growing a thin layer of copper on the top and subsequently annealing the films at 500°C and 600°C in vacuum. Cu diffusion layer was about 2nm after 600°C annealing for 30min. This work explores a promising way to grow high quality TaN diffusion barrier on silicon for copper interconnection.
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