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Jeannette Jacques's picture

Environmental Effects on Crack Characteristics for OSG Interconnect Materials

Jeannette M. Jacques, Ting Y. Tsui, Andrew J. McKerrow, and Robert Kraft

To improve capacitance delay performance of the advanced back-end-of-line (BEOL) structures, low dielectric constant organosilicate glass (OSG) has emerged as the predominant choice for intermetal insulator. The material has a characteristic tensile residual stress and low fracture toughness. A potential failure mechanism for this class of low-k dielectric films is catastrophic fracture due to channel cracking. During fabrication, channel cracks can also form in a time-dependent manner due to exposure to a particular environmental condition, commonly known as stress-corrosion cracking. Within this work, the environmental impacts of pressure, ambient, temperature, solution pH, and solvents upon the channel cracking of OSG thin films are characterized. Storage under high vacuum conditions and exposure to flowing dry nitrogen gas can significantly lower crack propagation rates. Cracking rates experience little fluctuation as a function of solution pH; however, exposure to aqueous solutions can increase the growth rate by three orders of magnitude.

Horacio Espinosa's picture

The 13th International Conference on Experimental Mechanics

Dear Colleagues:

The 13th International Conference on Experimental Mechanics (ICEM13, will be held on July 1-6, 2007 in Alexandroupolis, Greece. It is our pleasure to announce that the Conference will include a special symposium organized by us entitled, “Plasticity, Fracture and Fatigue at the Micro and Nano Scales,” which will focus on recent developments in this area within the larger scope of assessing research needs in a variety of applications of interest.

Ting Tsui's picture

Constraint Effects on Thin Film Channel Cracking Behavior

Channel CrackOne of the most common forms of cohesive failure observed in brittle thin film subjected to a tensile residual stress is channel cracking, a fracture mode in which through-film cracks propagate in the film. The crack growth rate depends on intrinsic film properties, residual stress, the presence of reactive species in the environments, and the precise film stack.

Joost Vlassak's picture

The Effect of Water Diffusion on the Adhesion of Organosilicate Glass Film Stacks

Ting Y. Tsui, Andrew J. McKerrow, and Joost J. Vlassak

Published in the Journal of The Mechanics and Physics of Solids, 54 (5), 887-903 (2006)

Abstract – Organosilicate glass (OSG) is a material that is used as a dielectric in advanced integrated circuits. It has a network structure similar to that of amorphous silica where a fraction of the Si-O bonds has been replaced by organic groups. It is well known from prior work that OSG is sensitive to subcritical crack growth as water molecules in the environment are transported to the crack tip and assist in rupturing Si-O bonds at the crack tip. In this study, we demonstrate that exposure of an OSG containing film stack to water prior to fracture results in degradation of the adhesion of the film stack. This degradation is the result of the diffusion of water into the film stack. We propose a quantitative model to predict adhesion degradation as a function of exposure time by coupling the results of independent subcritical crack growth measurements with diffusion concentration profiles. The model agrees well with experimental data and provides a novel method for measuring the water diffusion coefficient in film stacks that contain OSG. This study has important implications for the reliability of advanced integrated circuits.


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