Effect of the Crystallinity on the Electromigration Resistance of Electroplated Copper Thin-Film Interconnections

Takeru Kato, Ken Suzuki, Hideo Miura

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Dominant factors of electromigration (EM) resistance of electroplated copper thin-film interconnections were investigated from the viewpoint of temperature and crystallinity of the interconnection. The EM test under the constant current density of 7 mA/cm2 was performed to observe the degradation such as accumulation of copper atoms and voids. Formation of voids and the accumulation occurred along grain boundaries during the EM test, and finally the interconnection was fractured at the not cathode side but at the center part of the interconnection. From the monitoring of temperature of the interconnection by using thermography during the EM test, this abnormal fracture was caused by large Joule heating of itself under high current density. In order to investigate the effect of grain boundaries on the degradation by EM, the crystallinity of grain boundaries in the interconnection was evaluated by using image quality (IQ) value obtained from electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) analysis. The crystallinity of grain boundaries before the EM test had wide distribution, and the grain boundaries damaged under the EM loading mainly were random grain boundaries with low crystallinity. Thus, high density of Joule heating and high-speed diffusion of copper atoms along low crystallinity grain boundaries accelerated the EM degradation of the interconnection. The change of Joule heating density and activation energy for the EM damage were evaluated by using the interconnection annealed at 400 °C for 3 h. The annealing of the interconnection increased not only average grain size but also crystallinity of grains and grain boundaries drastically. The average IQ value of the interconnection was increased from 4100 to 6200 by the annealing. The improvement of the crystallinity decreased the maximum temperature of the interconnection during the EM test and increased the activation energy from 0.72 eV to 1.07 eV. The estimated lifetime of interconnections is increased about 100 times by these changes. Since the atomic diffusion is accelerated by not only the current density but also temperature and low crystallinity grain boundaries, the lifetime of the interconnections under EM loading is a strong function of their crystallinity. Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate and control the crystallinity of interconnections quantitatively using IQ value to assure their long-Term reliability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number020911
JournalJournal of Electronic Packaging, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jun 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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