Extracting Intrinsic Mechanical Properties Of Thin Low-Dielectric Constant Materials With iTF Analysis

Obtain substrate-independent properties from nanoindentation measurements. iTF procedures and guidelines for analyzing low-k materials for semiconductor applications.


This white paper focuses on the optimization and use of Bruker’s iTF software package for the extraction of intrinsic (substrate independent) mechanical properties, particularly for thin, low-k materials. These considerations are split into two main parts: Measurement procedure (Section II) and iTF execution (Section III). The former outlines important aspects of acquiring proper experimental data, which is later fed into the iTF software. It should be noted that the reader is assumed to have a preliminary understanding of the Li-Vlassak solution and basic nanoindentation principles.

Readers can expect to gain new insight into

  • The process of obtaining substrate-independent properties of low-k materials and the actions needed to obtain the best results;
  • Guidelines to follow for tip area function, indenter geometry selection, load function, and data analysis;
  • How to optimize critical user input values required for the iTF fitting of a thin film; and
  • Examples of the use of the above-listed processes in semiconductor research applications.

Authors: Oguzhan Orkut Okudur (imec), Kris Vanstreels (imec), Ude Hangen (Bruker)

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