Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Nanoscale Science and Engineering


Nanoscale Engineering

Content Description

1 online resource (xvii, 128 pages) : color illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Alain E Kaloyeros

Committee Members

Johnathan Faltermeier, Robert Geer, Vincent LaBella


Interconnect, Thin Film, Semiconductor films, Electric resistance, Oscillating chemical reactions, Nanostructured materials

Subject Categories

Materials Science and Engineering | Nanoscience and Nanotechnology


As the semiconductor industry continues to scale feature sizes, scattering from phonons, surfaces, and grain boundaries result in an increase of metal interconnect resistivity in state-of-the-art integrated circuits (ICs). The interconnect chapter of the 2011 International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) stated that there are currently no manufacturable solutions in the near term for suitable Cu replacements. Previous studies of thin Ag films deposited on Cu demonstrated oscillations in the electron-phonon interactions within the bilayer system. This thesis investigates oscillations in the resistive properties of the Ag/Cu bilayer system and discusses the applicability of these oscillations to the resistivity challenges facing metal-based IC interconnects. Ag/Cu bilayer films were prepared by physical vapor deposition (PVD). The films were characterized by measuring the electrical resistance of the films at various temperatures and calculating the thermal coefficient of resistance (TCR) for various Ag capping layer thicknesses. Films were further characterized by atomic force microscopy (AFM), Rutherford backscattering (RBS), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Patterned Ag-capped Cu lines were fabricated, which exhibited resistive behavior similar to that of the Ag/Cu films. Compared to bare Cu, the resistances of Ag-capped Cu lines and films were lower and exhibited a reduced dependence on temperature. Smaller thermal coefficients of resistivity were also observed for Ag-capped Cu films and patterned lines when compared to Cu alone.