Local adhesion strength of the interface between Cu line and SiN cap layer in a Cu damascene interconnect structure of LSI has a significant fluctuation when evaluated with in-plane dimensions of 1 × 1 μm specimens, which was 4.78 ± 1.63 J/m2. The reproducibility of the evaluation technique was investigated by evaluating the strength of the Cu/SiN interface for the specimens fabricated on a plate of Cu single crystal, where the interface strength was measured as 0.62 ± 0.02 J/m2. The relative standard deviation of interface strength distribution in LSI interconnect structure was 34% which was more than ten times larger than the value 2.5% for the specimens fabricated on the plate of Cu single crystal. The significant fluctuation of interface strength was induced clearly not by the random error of the evaluation technique, but by the inhomogeneous grain structure of Cu line with various crystal orientations and grain boundaries. By means of elastic-plastic interface crack extension simulations, it was revealed that the difference in the amount of energy dissipated in plastic deformation of Cu layer mainly leads to a significant fluctuation of the apparent strength. Plastic deformation of Cu layer plays a dominant role on the local strength of interface Cu/SiN in LSI interconnects.
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