Residual stress, microstructure, and structure of tungsten thin films deposited by magnetron sputtering

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Author(s)

  • Y. W. Mai
  • Q. C. Zhang
  • D. R. McKenzie
  • W. D. McFall
  • W. E. McBride

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-187
Journal / PublicationJournal of Applied Physics
Volume87
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes

Abstract

The residual stress and structural properties of tungsten thin films prepared by magnetron sputtering as a function of sputtering-gas pressure are reported. The films were analyzed in situ by a cantilever beam technique, and ex situ by x-ray diffraction, cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy (TEM), x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, electron energy-loss spectrometry, and energy-filtered electron diffraction. It is found that the residual stress, microstructure, and surface morphology are clearly correlated. The film stresses, determined in real time during the film formation, depend strongly on the argon pressure and change from highly compressive to highly tensile in a relatively narrow pressure range of 12-26 mTorr. For pressures exceeding ∼60 mTorr, the stress in the film is nearly zero. It is also found that the nonequilibrium A15 W structure is responsible for the observed tensile stress, whereas the stable bcc W or a mixture of bcc W and A15 W are in compression. Cross-sectional TEM evidence indicates that the compressively stressed films contain a dense microstructure without any columns, while the films having tensile stress have a very columnar microstructure. High sputtering-gas pressure conditions yield dendritic-like film growth, resulting in complete relaxation of the residual tensile stresses. Structural details of the A15 W and amorphous W phases were also investigated at the atomic level using energy-filtered electron diffraction with reduced radial distribution function G(r) analysis. By comparing the experimental and simulated G(r) distributions, the A15 W structure is determined to be composed of ordered and stacking faulted W3W structures and the amorphous W has a disordered structure of W3O. The effect of oxygen in stabilizing the A15 phase found is explained on the basis of structural and thermodynamic stability. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.

Citation Format(s)

Residual stress, microstructure, and structure of tungsten thin films deposited by magnetron sputtering. / Shen, Y. G.; Mai, Y. W.; Zhang, Q. C. et al.
In: Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 87, No. 1, 01.01.2000, p. 177-187.

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review