Energetics of porous amorphous low-k SiOCH dielectric films

Jiewei Chen, Jason J. Calvin, Sean W. King, Brian F. Woodfield, Alexandra Navrotsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The trend toward dimension reduction in electronic devices has driven the research and development of low dielectric constant materials to solve resistance capacitance delays and power consumption issues. Amorphous porous hydrogenated silicon oxycarbides form a class of materials that have even lower dielectric constants than other silicon oxycarbides, achieved by introducing organic functional groups as well as porosity to alter the structure and decrease the density of conventional silica. However, these films tend to decompose to SiO2 during thermal annealing and nano-electronic fabrication processes. This apparent instability leads to the need to investigate how porosity can change the fundamental thermodynamic stability of this class of materials. We used high temperature oxidative molten salt solution calorimetry and cryogenic heat capacity measurements to directly determine enthalpies of formation, heat capacities, and standard entropies of a series of well-characterized porous SiOCH films. Thus, a full thermodynamic dataset has been obtained for these porous low-k films. All of these samples are either found to be unstable or metastable at or even below 298.15 K with respect to their crystalline counterparts and gaseous products. Thus, there appears little chance of forming thermodynamically stable amorphous porous SiOCH films and their persistence in fabrication and use is controlled by kinetic rather than thermodynamic factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105885
JournalJournal of Chemical Thermodynamics
StatePublished - Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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