Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A

, Volume 38, Issue 13, pp 2263–2272 | Cite as

Strain-Induced Grain Growth during Rapid Thermal Cycling of Aluminum Interconnects

  • R.R. Keller
  • R.H. Geiss
  • N. BarbosaIII
  • A.J. Slifka
  • D.T. Read


We demonstrate the rapid growth of grains in nonpassivated, sputtered Al-1 at. pct Si interconnects during 200 Hz thermal cycling induced by alternating current. Mean grain diameters were observed by use of automated electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) to increase by more than 70 pct after an accumulated cycling time of less than 6 minutes over a temperature range of 200 °C, which corresponded to a total strain range of 4 × 10−3. Plasticity in growing grains primarily took the form of topography formation at the free surface and grain rotation, while consumed grains tended to retain relatively high dislocation content. Grain growth was characterized by means of pairwise comparisons in EBSD pattern quality across moving boundaries. Out of 92 cases where a grain was observed to grow into its neighbor, 61 cases indicated that the growing grain had a higher average pattern quality factor than that of the consumed grain, at the 95 pct confidence level. The results are consistent with a strain-induced boundary migration mechanism, wherein stored plastic strain energy differences from grain to grain drive growth, some of which was observed after only 10 seconds of cycling.


Image Quality Resolve Shear Stress Inverse Pole Figure Fiber Texture Dislocation Segment 
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We thank the NIST Office of Microelectronics Programs and the National Research Council Post-Doctoral Research Program for support. We thank D.S. Finch (AISthesis, LLC) for preparation of TEM specimens by FIB. This work is a contribution of the United States Department of Commerce and is not subject to copyright in the United States.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • R.R. Keller
    • 1
  • R.H. Geiss
    • 1
  • N. BarbosaIII
    • 1
  • A.J. Slifka
    • 1
  • D.T. Read
    • 1
  1. 1.Materials Reliability DivisionNational Institute of Standards and TechnologyBoulderUSA

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