Using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and high-resolution x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy with the synchrotron radiation we investigated Si-based micro-clusters embedded in TaSiN thin films having oxygen contamination. TaSiN thin films were deposited by co-sputtering on fixed or rotated substrates and with various power conditions of TaN and Si targets. Three types of embedded micro-clusters with the chemical states of pure Si, SiOx-capped Si, and SiO2-capped Si were observed and analyzed using SEM and Si 2p and Ta 4 f core-level spectra were derived. Their different resistivities are presumably due to the different chemical states and densities of Si-based micro-clusters. (C) 2015 Author(s). All article content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.