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Microscopic Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectra are measured for a Cu/low-k interconnect structure using polarized IR light for different widths of low-k spaces and Cu lines, and for different heights of Cu lines, on Si substrates. Although the widths of the Cu line and the low-k space are 70 nm each, considerably smaller than the wavelength of the IR light, the FT-IR spectra of the low-k film were obtained for the Cu/low-k interconnect structure. A suitable method was established for measuring the process-induced damage in a low-k film that was not detected by the TEM-EELS (Transmission Electron Microscope-Electron Energy-Loss Spectroscopy) using microscopic IR polarized light. Based on the IR results, it was presumed that the FT-IR spectra mainly reflect the structural changes in the sidewalls of the low-k films for Cu/low-k interconnect structures, and the mechanism of generating process-induced damage involves the generation of Si-OH groups in the low-k film when the Si-CH bonds break during the fabrication processes. The Si-OH groups attract moisture and the OH peak intensity increases. It was concluded that the increase in the OH groups in the low-k film is a sensitive indicator of low-k damage. We achieved the characterization of the process-induced damage that was not detected by the TEM-EELS and speculated that the proposed method is applicable to interconnects with line and space widths of 70 nm/70 nm and on shorter scales of leading edge devices. The location of process-induced damage and its mechanism for the Cu/low-k interconnect structure were revealed via the measurement method.


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