Technical: This GOALI project is to study optical properties of transition metals and related intermetallic compounds, especially silicides. Metal and intermetallic compound films are grown on silicon and silicon oxide using physical vapor deposition at IBM. Samples are annealed to encourage grain growth, intermetallic reactions, and agglomeration (Ostwald ripening). The complex dielectric functions of the thin film materials are investigated using spectroscopic ellipsometry over a wide spectral range from the far infrared to the vacuum ultraviolet. Optical measurements are combined with semiconductor metrology techniques, particularly x-ray measurements and atomic force microscopy, to understand the film properties, intermetallic formation, and evolution of the films during materials and device processing.
The project addresses basic research issues in a topical area of materials science with high technological relevance. Low-resistance contacts to nanoelectronic devices require ultrathin Ohmic metal-semiconductor junctions with superior chemical, physical, and thermal stabilities. Ellipsometry allows non-contact investigations of the properties of thin metal films, intermetallic formation, and materials evolution during processing. Graduate and undergraduate students, including those in under-represented groups, will be trained for ellipsometry, metrology, semiconductor processing, and device fabrication, and learn about materials physics in industry. Well-designed capstone design projects for senior undergraduate students are an important component of the project.