Enhanced Adhesion Between Electroless Copper and Advanced Substrates
Hayden, Harley T.
MetadataShow full item record
In this work, adhesion between electrolessly deposited copper and dielectric materials for use in microelectronic devices is investigated. The microelectronics industry requires continuous advances due to ever-evolving technology and the corresponding need for higher density substrates with smaller features. At the same time, adhesion must be maintained in order to preserve package reliability and mechanical performance. In order to meet these requirements two approaches were taken: smoothing the surface of traditional epoxy dielectric materials while maintaining adhesion, and increasing adhesion on advanced dielectric materials through chemical bonding and mechanical anchoring. It was found that NH3 plasma treatments can be effective for increasing both catalyst adsorption and adhesion across a range of materials. This adhesion is achieved through increased nitrogen content on the polymer surface, specifically N=C. This nitrogen interacts with the palladium catalyst particles to form chemical anchors between the polymer surface and the electroless copper layer without the need for roughness. Chemical bonding alone, however, did not enable sufficient adhesion but needed to be supplemented with mechanical anchoring. Traditional epoxy materials were treated with a swell and etch process to roughen the surface and create mechanical anchoring. This same process was found to be ineffective when used on advanced dielectric materials. In order to create controlled roughness on these surfaces a novel method was developed that utilized blends of traditional epoxy with the advanced materials. Finally, combined treatments of surface roughening followed by plasma treatments were utilized to create optimum interfaces between traditional or advanced dielectric materials and electroless copper. In these systems adhesion was measured over 0.5 N/mm with root-mean-square surface roughness as low as 15 nm. In addition, the individual contributions of chemical bonding and mechanical anchoring were identified. The plasma treatment conditions used in these experiments contributed up to 0.25 N/mm to adhesion through purely chemical bonding with minimal roughness generation. Mechanical anchoring accounted for the remainder of adhesion, 0.2-0.8 N/mm depending on the level of roughness created on the surface. Thus, optimized surfaces with very low surface roughness and adequate adhesion were achieved by sequential combination of roughness formation and chemical modifications.