The major sources of impurities in sputtered Al alloy films for interconnects, prepared by physical vapor deposition include those originating from the target material, residual gases present in the vacuum system, and those introduced through the gas delivery system. In this study, we report the effect of impurities incorporated from residual gases present in vacuum systems on the electromigration performance of 0.6 μm wide Al-l%Cu lines. Controlled leaks of isotope gases H2O18, N2
18, and C13H4, in 10−6 10−9 Torr range, were introduced into a PVD tool during the sputtering process. Using these isotope gases, the impurities originating from residual gases were distinguished from those originating from other sources of impurities. The sputtering target was found to be the major source of H and O impurities in the film, whereas N atoms are introduced in the film mainly through the gas phase. Furthermore, N atoms in the film were found to affect its electromigration behaviour to a larger extent than O and H.