Electrical and mechanical properties of tantalum nitride thin films deposited by reactive sputtering

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Abstract

The electrical resistivity and mechanical hardness of reactively sputtered tantalum nitride (TaN) thin films on ceramic substrates have been investigated. Depending on the nitrogen/argon gas flow rate ratio (defined as R), the resistivity of the tantalum nitride films varied unusually widely (10 7 orders) from metal to insulator. The big increase in the resistivity of the tantalum nitride films as the R value increased may be due to the theoretically predicted Ta vacancies and anti-site defects (excess N atoms occupying Ta sites) or thermodynamically stable N-rich phase formation under N-rich conditions. N-rich TaN film in this study (R=2) had a dramatically increased resistivity and seems to be a good candidate material as a seed layer and a capping layer of GMR sensor in data storage, while low-resistive stoichiometric TaN (R=0.5) is a good candidate material as a barrier layer in semiconductors with its low contact resistance. The hardnesses of underlayer (10 μm Al2O3), 100 nm Al2O3, and two TaN films (R=1 and 2) were similar and between 600 and 1600 kg/mm2. The hardness of the TaN film did not change much as the N content increased in this study, which seems to indicate that N-rich thermodynamically stable phases such as tetragonal Ta4N5 or orthorhombic Ta 3N5 (rather than TaN film with anti-site defects) have been formed as the N content increased.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-408
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Crystal Growth
Volume283
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Oct 1

Keywords

  • A1. Hardness
  • A1. Reactive sputtering
  • A1. Resistivity
  • A1. Roughness
  • B1. TaN

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry

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