The properties of WNxCy films deposited by atomic layer deposition (ALD) using WF6, NH3, and triethyl boron as source gases were characterized as a diffusion barrier for copper metallization. It is noted that the as-deposited film shows an extremely low resistivity of about 350 μΩ cm with a film density of 15.37 g/cm3. The film composition measured from Rutherford backscattering spectrometry shows W, C, and N of ∼48, 32, and 20 at. %, respectively. Transmission electron microscopy analyses show that the as-deposited film is composed of face-centered-cubic phase with a lattice parameter similar to both β-WC1-x and β-W2N with an equiaxed microstructure. The barrier property of this ALD–WNxCy film at a nominal thickness of 12 nm deposited between Cu and Si fails only after annealing at 700 °C for 30 min. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.