We used atom probe tomography (APT) to study the use of a Cu(Mn) as a seed layer of Cu, and a Co(W) single-layer as reliable Cu diffusion barriers for future interconnects in ultra-large-scale integration. The use of Co(W) layer enhances adhesion of Cu to prevent electromigration and stress-induced voiding failures. The use of Cu(Mn) as seed layer may enhance the diffusion barrier performance of Co(W) by stuffing the Cu diffusion pass with Mn. APT was used to visualize the distribution of W and Mn in three dimensions with sub-nanometer resolution. W was found to segregate at the grain boundaries of Co, which prevents diffusion of Cu via the grain boundaries. Mn was found to diffuse from the Cu(Mn) layer to Co(W) layer and selectively segregate at the Co(W) grain boundaries with W, reinforcing the barrier properties of Co(W) layer. Hence, a Co(W) barrier coupled with a Cu(Mn) seed layer can form a sufficient diffusion barrier with film that is less than 2.0-nm-thick. The diffusion barrier behavior was preserved following a 1-h annealing at 400 °C. The underlayer of the Cu interconnects requires a large adhesion strength with the Cu, as well as low electrical resistivity. The use of Co(W) has previously been shown to satisfy these requirements, and addition of Mn is not expected to deteriorate these properties.

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