Since Cu was found to be attractive as interconnect materials for ultra-large scale integrated (ULSI) Si devices, the electrical properties of Cu films have been extensively studied to prepare low resistance films. It was found in our previous papers that reduction of the electrical resistance of the Cu films was achieved by increasing grain sizes of the Cu films and large-grained Cu films were essential for the low resistance Cu interconnects. The primary factor to increase the grain sizes was also found to be intrinsic and/or extrinsic strain (or stress) introduced into the films. The present paper addresses the driving force of the grain growth of the Cu thin films based on the strain energy criterion model.
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