Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Physics

Content Description

1 online resource (xii, 68 pages) : color illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

T. S. Kuan

Committee Members

Jesse Ernst, John Kimball, William Lanford, Gwo Ching Wang


Grain Growth, Hillocks, Interface, Strain relaxation, Thermal Stress, Thin films, Copper plating, Copper, Strains and stresses, Electroplating, Integrated circuits, Semiconductors, electroplating

Subject Categories



In the wide scope of modern technology, nm-thick metallic films are increasingly used as lubrication layers, optical coatings, plating seeds, diffusion barriers, adhesion layers, metal contacts, reaction catalyzers, etc. A prominent example is the use of nm-thick Cu films as electroplating seed layers in the manufacturing of integrated circuits (ICs). These high density circuits are linked by on-chip copper interconnects, which are manufactured by filling Cu into narrow trenches by electroplating. The Cu fill by electroplating requires a thin Cu seed deposited onto high-aspect-ratio trenches. In modern ICs, these trenches are approaching 10 nm or less in width, and the seed layers less than 1 nm in thickness. Since nm-thick Cu seed layers are prone to agglomeration or delamination, achieving uniform, stable and highly-conductive ultra-thin seeds has become a major manufacturing challenge. A fundamental understanding of the strain behavior and thermal stability of nm-thick metal films adhered to a rigid substrate is thus critically needed.

Included in

Physics Commons