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Stochastic behavior of nanoscale dielectric wall buckling



Lawrence H. Friedman, Igor Levin, Robert F. Cook


The random buckling patterns of nanoscale dielectric walls are analyzed using a nonlinear multi-scale stochastic method that combines experimental measurements with simulations. The dielectric walls, approximately 200 nm tall and 20 nm wide, consist of compliant, low dielectric constant (low-k) fins capped with stiff, compressively stressed TiN lines that provide the driving force for buckling. The deflections of the buckled lines exhibit sinusoidal pseudoperiodicity with amplitude fluctuation and phase decorrelation arising from stochastic variations in wall geometry, properties, and stress state at length scales shorter than the characteristic deflection wavelength of about 1000 nm. The buckling patterns are analyzed and modeled at two length scales: a longer scale (up to 5000 nm) that treats randomness as a longer-scale measurable quantity, and a shorter-scale (down to 20 nm) that treats buckling as a deterministic phenomenon. Statistical simulation is used to join the two length scales. Through this approach, the bucklingmodel is validated and material properties and stress states are inferred. In particular, the stress state of TiN lines in three different systems is determined, along with the elastic moduli of low-k fins and the amplitudes of the small-scale random fluctuations in wall properties—all in the as-processed state. The important case of stochastic effects giving rise to buckling in a deterministically sub-critical buckling state is demonstrated. The nonlinear multiscale stochastic analysis provides guidance for design of low-k structures with acceptable buckling behavior and serves as a template for how randomness that is common to nanoscale phenomena might be measured and analyzed in other contexts.
Journal of Applied Physics


nanomechanics, nanomaterials, buckling, stochastic methods, low-k dielectrics, interlayer dielectrics, TiN, stress, elasticity


Friedman, L. , Levin, I. and Cook, R. (2016), Stochastic behavior of nanoscale dielectric wall buckling, Journal of Applied Physics (Accessed June 15, 2024)


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Created March 16, 2016, Updated February 19, 2017