The electrical properties of reactively sputtered Ta2O5 thin films with Ta as the bottom electrodes were investigated. Ta films were deposited onto SiO2/n-Si substrates by sputtering in Ar and in situ annealed at 700 °C for 10 min in N2 at a chamber pressure of 20 mTorr. We compared the effectiveness of both as-deposited and annealed Ta bottom electrodes on the leakage characteristics of Ta2O5 thin films. We also envisaged the influence of the surface roughness and morphology of the Ta bottom electrode in modifying the resultant microstructure of the annealed Ta2O5 films. Present studies demonstrate the use of Ta as a potential bottom electrode material to replace the precious metal electrodes and to simplify the fabrication process of the Ta2O5 storage capacitor. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.