Image Number 3 for United States Patent #7863179.
Various embodiments provide improved processes and systems that produce a barrier layer with decreasing nitrogen concentration with the increase of film thickness. A barrier layer with decreasing nitrogen concentration with film thickness allows the end of barrier layer with high nitrogen concentration to have good adhesion with a dielectric layer and the end of barrier layer with low nitrogen concentration (or metal-rich) to have good adhesion with copper. An exemplary method of depositing a barrier layer on an interconnect structure is provided. The method includes (a) providing an atomic layer deposition environment, (b) depositing a barrier layer on the interconnect structure with a first nitrogen concentration during a first phase of deposition in the atomic layer deposition environment. The method further includes (c) continuing the deposition of the barrier layer on the interconnect structure with a second nitrogen concentration during a second phase deposition in the atomic layer deposition environment.