Ni(5 at.%Pt ) films were silicided at a temperature below 400 °C and at 550 °C. The two silicidation temperatures had produced different responses to the subsequent metal etch. Catastrophic removal of the silicide was seen with the low silicidation temperature, while the desired etch selectivity was achieved with the high silicidation temperature. The surface microstructures developed were characterized with TEM and Auger depth profiling. The data correlate with both silicidation temperatures and ultimately the difference in the response to the metal etch. With the high silicidation temperature, there existed a thin Si-oxide film that was close to the surface and embedded with particles which contain metals. This thin film is expected to contribute significantly to the desired etch selectivity. The formation of this layer is interpreted thermodynamically.

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