Diffusion barrier properties of electroless Ni for electroless Cu using Cu plating employing hypophosphite as a reducing agent

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A series of experiments have been conducted into the feasibility of a copper interconnection manufacturing scheme in which a nickel layer is employed as the patterning guide and the cushion to subsequent electroless copper deposition. It was found that with nickel as mediator and sodium hypophosphite as the reducing agent, the copper layer can be selectively deposited on Si wafers by an electroless plating process, which saves the conventional dry etching process to pattern the copper layer. Diagnostics on such copper interconnections, using Auger electron spectroscopy (AES), cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy (XTEM) and energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), all indicated no diffusion of the deposited copper into the underlying nickel layer after going through 350 °C, one hour heat treatment.

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