Influence of particle bombardment on microstructure and internal stresses of refractory metal suicides on silicon
First results on microstructural changes and stress relaxation in thin refractory metal suicide films (TaSi 2 and MoSi 2) caused by particle bombardment are reported. The polycrystalline films had initial tensile stresses of some 10 9 Pa. Exposed to irradiation with Ge ions of 400 keV, both suicides showed a similar stress relaxation behaviour as a function of dose. During room-temperature implantation the initial tensile stress rapidly decreased and turned into compressive stress. Continuous irradiation partly relaxed the compressive stress and resulted in a saturation value of some -10 8 Pa. With increasing implantation temperature, the buildup of compressive stress gradually vanished, leaving only the initial decrease of tensile stress which finally approached zero. Based on microstructural investigations (TEM and X-ray diffraction) it is proposed to explain this behaviour by the combined action of two processes: relaxation of tensile stress by a volume increase due to irradiation-induced amorphization, and Frenkel defect production and relaxation of compressive stress by irradiation-induced densification of amorphous regions and/or Frenkel defect elimination.