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Advanced Metallization and Nanostructures Group


Contact: Prof. D.N. (Noel) Buckley
Chair of Physics, University of Limerick
Tel. +353-61-202902


Electrodeposition has emerged as the method of choice for the deposition of advanced micro- and nano-scale copper metallization for microelectronics integrated circuits. The Advanced Metallization and Nanostructures group within the Physics Department and Materials & Surface Science Institute (MSSI) investigates basic properties of electrodeposited copper metallization in collaboration with groups at UCC and Texas A&M University in the USA and Walton Scholar Prof. S. Nakahara. The work includes nanostuctural characterization using atomic force (AFM) and scanning tunnelling (STM) microscopy including in situ electrochemical STM with up to atomic resolution, high resolution transmission and scanning electron microscopy (TEM and SEM) and a variety of electroanalytical, electrical and spectroscopic measurements as well as deposition and microelectronics fabrication techniques. The group provides a knowledge base for technological development and specialized postgraduate training in this critical area of microelectronics. Recently, using AFM, the group discovered[1] a remarkable spontaneous morphological change during room temperature aging of electrodeposited copper films. This is the first such observation and opens up many other avenues of investigation.

The group has dedicated state-of-the-art facilities for nanostructural characterization including a VEECO Enviroscope scanning probe microscope, a Hitachi S-4800 high resolution field emission SEM, and a range of equipment for film deposition and for electroanalytical, electrical, optical and mechanical measurements. An excellent range of other techniques is available within the MSSI including TEM, XPS, XRD, DSC, SIMS and ellipsometry.

The group leader, Prof. Noel Buckley has over 30 years of research experience including 17 years at Bell Laboratories (Murray Hill, NJ, USA). He is Vice-President and Fellow of The Electrochemical Society and for many years was an editor of The Journal of the Electrochemical Society and Electrochemical and Solid State Letters.

[1] D. N. Buckley and S. Ahmed, Electrochem. Solid State Lett., 6, C33-C37 (2003)

Some Publications:

“Oxygen Reduction and Corrosion on Copper Substrates for Electrodeposition and In Situ AFM Imaging”, Buckley D. N., Breathnach M., Ahmed S., Nakahara S., Burke L.D. and Sharna R., Symposium on Electrochemical Processing in ULSI and MEMS 3, 211th Meeting of the Electrochemical Society, Chicago, Illinois, Abstract No. 838, May 6-10, 2007.

“Vacancy-Induced Plastic Deformation in Electrodeposited Copper Films”, Nakahara S., Ahmed S., Ahmed T. T. and Buckley D. N. , Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 154, D145- D150, January 18 (2007).

“A Model for Spontaneous Morphology Change in Electrodeposited Copper Films during Room-Temperature Aging”, Nakahara S., Ahmed S., and Buckley D. N., Electrochemical and Solid- State Letters, 10, D17- D21, December 8 (2007).

“An Isothermal Annealing Study of Spontaneous Morphology Change in Electrodeposited Copper Metallization”, Ahmed S., Buckley D.N., Nakahara S. ,Ahmed T. T. and Kuo Y., Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 154, D103- D112, January,5 (2007).

“Resistance Measurements and Simultaneous AFM Imaging on Electrodeposited Copper Films during Room Temperature Aging”, Ahmed S., Ahmed T. T., Buckley D. N., Gooberman G. and Nakahara S., ECS Transactions, 2, 229-242, February (2007).

“In Situ AFM Study of the Effect of Additives on the Morphology of Electrodeposited Copper”, Breathnach M., Ahmed S., Nakahara S. and Buckley D. N., ECS Transactions, 2, 157-166,February (2007).

“Vacancy-Induced Plastic Deformation in Electrodeposited Copper Films”, Nakahara S., Ahmed S., D. Buckley N., and Ahmed T. T., ECS Transactions, 2, 167-184, February (2007).

“Stress Evolution in Electrodeposited Copper Metallization during Room-Temperature Aging”, Chowdhury T., Ahmed  S., Buckley D. N., Laugier M., Nakahara S. and Heffernan C., ECS Transactions, 1, 93-103, May (2006).

“In-Situ Observation by AFM of the Morphology of Copper Metallization during Electrodeposition”, Breathnach M., Ahmed S., Nakahara S. and Buckley D.N., ECS Transactions, 1, 25-39, May (2006).

“Real Time Observation by Atomic Force Microscopy of Spontaneous Recrystallization at Room Temperature in Electrodeposited Copper Metallization”, Buckley, D. N. and Ahmed S., Electrochemical and Solid- State Letters, 6, C33-C37, March (2003).