Nanocrystalline copper films are never flat

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Science  28 Jul 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6349, pp. 397-400
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan4797

Flat-out failure of copper films

As integrated circuits shrink in size, so does their nanocrystalline metal wiring. Defects at the interfaces between crystallites (grain boundaries) can degrade wires' electrical and thermal conductivity, as well as their longevity. Using scanning tunneling microscopy, Zhang et al. showed that the surfaces of nanocrystalline copper films are not flat but rather have ridges and valleys created by the grains rotating out of plane, which then introduces grain boundary defects. Such defects might be avoided if films of different orientations could be grown.

Science, this issue p. 397

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