Evaluation of diffusion barrier and electrical properties of tantalum oxynitride thin films for silver metallization

E. Misra, Y. Wang, N. D. Theodore, Terry Alford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The thermal stability and the diffusion barrier properties of DC reactively sputtered tantalum oxynitride (Ta-O-N) thin films, between silver (Ag) and silicon (Si) p+n diodes were investigated. Both materials characterization (X-ray diffraction analysis, Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS), Auger depth profiling) and electrical measurements (reverse-biased junction leakage current-density) were used to evaluate diffusion barrier properties of the thin films. The leakage current density of p+n diodes with the barrier (Ta-O-N) was approximately four orders of magnitude lower than those without barriers after a 30 min, 400°C back contact anneal. The Ta-O-N barriers were stable up to 500°C, 30 min anneals. However, this was not the case for the 600 °C anneal. RBS spectra and cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy of as-deposited and vacuum annealed samples of Ag/barrier (Ta-O-N)/Si indicate the absence of any interfacial interaction between the barrier and substrate (silicon). The failure of the Ta-O-N barriers has been attributed to thermally induced stresses, which cause the thin film to crack at elevated temperatures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-345
Number of pages8
JournalThin Solid Films
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 15 2004


  • Diffusion barrier
  • Electrical properties and measurements
  • Silver metallization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry


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