Index of content:
Volume 96, Issue 7, 01 October 2004
- DEVICE PHYSICS (PACS 85)
96(2004); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.1792386View Description Hide Description
Oxidation of an insulating barrier in a magnetic tunnelingjunction(MTJ) was carried out by a tilted-plasma oxidation method. It was found that the tilted-plasma oxidation induced a gradual change in the extent of oxidation of an insulating layer, which consequently led to a gradual change in the tunnelingmagnetoresistance(TMR) and specific junction resistance (RA) of the MTJ. We found a linear relation in the TMR versus RA curve with positive and negative slopes for less- and overoxidized junctions, respectively, and a parabolic relation for optimally oxidizedjunctions. The crossover in the TMR versus RA curves provides an effective and useful way to optimize (and monitor) the oxidation condition of a tunneling barrier in MTJs especially of a tunneling barrier less than thick. The tunnelingjunctions were also investigated after thermal annealing at various temperatures. The observations after thermal annealing were found to be consistent with transmission electrons microscopy images and a scenario of the partial formation of an additional ultrathin tunneling barrier at the top surface of the bottom magnetic layer.
96(2004); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.1784621View Description Hide Description
The objective of this work is to monitor the growth process and the thermal stability of ultrathin tantalum nitride barrier nanostructures against copper diffusion in integrated circuits using real-time spectroscopic ellipsometry (RTSE). Single layers of copper and bilayer films of copper and tantalum nitride were produced on substrates using unbalanced magnetron sputtering. The RTSE data was simulated using the Bruggeman effective medium approximation and a combined Drude-Lorentz model to obtain information about the growth process, film architecture, interface quality, and the conduction electron transport properties for these structures. The results deduced from the RTSE were verified by characterizing the structural and the chemical properties of the fabricated films using x-ray diffraction, Auger electron spectroscopy, and Rutherford backscattering. The effectiveness of the tantalum nitride barrier to stop the diffusion of copper into silicon was evaluated, monitoring their optical properties when annealed at . The dielectric function of the films changed from a metallic to an insulating character when the diffusion proceeded. Also, the RTSE provided valuable information about the microstructure and the kinetics of the phase transformations that occur during heat treatment.