Tantalum nitride (TaN) films were prepared by reactive sputtering in a gas Ar and N2 for gate electrode applications. Resistivity, crystallinity, and work function of the films were investigated as a function of nitrogen flow rate. As the nitrogen flow rate increased from 0 to 20 sccm, the resistivity of as-deposited TaN films increased from 132 to 1.4×105 μΩ cm. With a nitrogen flow rate of 8 and 10 sccm, the fcc TaN phase was obtained. The work function of the TaN films was investigated using TaN-gated nmetal–oxide–semiconductor capacitors with SiO2 gate dielectrics of various thicknesses. As the nitrogen flow rate increased from 4 to 12 sccm, the work function decreased from 4.1 to 3.4 eV for as-deposited films. After annealing at 950 °C for 1 min, the work function increased to 4.5–4.7 eV, with less dependency on the nitrogen flow rate. © 2003 American Vacuum Society.