Effect of pH and H2O2 on Ta chemical mechanical planarization - Electrochemistry and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy studies



S. C. Kuiry; S. Seal; W. Fei; J. Ramsdell; V. H. Desai; Y. Li; S. V. Babu;B. Wood


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Abbreviated Journal Title

J. Electrochem. Soc.


CORROSION BEHAVIOR; ACID-SOLUTIONS; TANTALUM; NIOBIUM; ALLOYS; XPS; Electrochemistry; Materials Science, Coatings & Films


Tantalum is used as a diffusion barrier and adhesion promoter layer between the dielectric material and copper interconnects. The present study was intended to investigate the effect of oxidizer and solution pH on chemical mechanical planarization of tantalum. High purity Ta disks were used to study the dissolution and oxidation kinetics under static and dynamic conditions using various solutions in acidic and alkaline pH regimes. The electrochemical measurements during dynamic polishing of a Ta disk were carried out using slurries containing silica and alumina particles with hydrogen peroxide at various pH levels. The affected surface layers of the statically etched Ta disk were investigated using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS). Ta metal was observed to oxidize in aqueous solutions at pH 2, 4, and 12 in absence of H2O2. The oxidation process follows the parabolic kinetic law and oxidation rate was observed to be higher in an alkaline region than in an acidic region. In the presence of H2O2, however, Ta dissolved in the alkaline region. The dissolution was found to be greater at pH 12 mainly because of enhanced dissociation of H2O2 in alkaline region. At pH 2, on the contrary, mass gain was observed probably due to an increase in OH- content on the top of Ta oxide formed on the surface as confirmed by XPS and SIMS depth profile studies. XPS study revealed that the oxidation of tantalum takes place at a rapid rate and forms soluble oxotantalate and hydroxotantalate in solution at pH 12 in the presence of hydrogen peroxide. AFM study validates both the XPS and the SIMS results, indicating formation of a thin impervious oxide layer on Ta in a solution at pH 2 with 5% H2O2, and a porous layer was formed on Ta in solution with 5% H2O2 at pH 12. Consequently, the dissolution rate in alkaline region was enhanced which was confirmed by dynamic removal rate measurements, electrochemistry, and XPS studies. (C) 2002 The Electrochemical Society.

Journal Title

Journal of the Electrochemical Society





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