Failure mechanisms of silver and aluminum on titanium nitride under high current stress

E. Misra, C. Marenco, N. D. Theodore, Terry Alford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The effects of high-current stress (3-10 A) on single-line structures of aluminum (Al) and silver (Ag) of different widths (2.5-10 μm) and on titanium nitride (TiN) as barrier are reported in this paper. As the applied current-densities were increased, the lines experienced catastrophic failure. In the cases of Al/TiN/SiO2 and Ag/TiN/Si, failure occurred at individual sites that were distributed over the length of the line. Failure times, for all line widths and for both metallizations, showed a non-linear dependence on current density. The current-density exponent (m) was calculated for the different structures. For Al/TiN/SiO2 and Ag/TiN/Si lines, the value of m was found to be -1.4-1.6 and ∼ 1.2-1.4, respectively, lower than the value of 2 reported in the literature for Al/SiO2 structures. The current-density exponents were found to be independent of line widths. Failed structures were characterized using analytical tools. The mode/mechanism of failure was found to be Joule-heating induced vaporization of the metallization followed by mechanical failure of the barrier TiN (for Al/TiN/SiO2), or melting and vaporization of the barrier TiN (for Ag/TiN/Si).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-244
Number of pages10
JournalThin Solid Films
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2005

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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