The relationship between silicide grain orientation and strain/stress induced in patterned silicon has been experimentally investigated for structures formed by NiSi lines spaced by SiO2Si3N4 stacks. The strain and stress fields exhibit a significant asymmetry that has been attributed to the difference in the orientations of silicide grains at the two sides of the stacks. Finite element simulations support and complete the study, indicating that NiSi orientation can strongly affect the stress profile in the silicon between two silicide lines. These results are useful to understand at a fundamental level the buildup of stress and strain in actual transistors.

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