Skip to Main Content
Multilevel interconnects used in power ICs are susceptible to short circuit failure due to a combination of fast thermal cycling and electromigration stresses. In this paper, we present a study of electromigration-induced extrusion short-circuit failure in a standard two level metallization currently used in power ICs and in particular the effect of fast thermal cycling on the subsequent electromigration lifetime. A special test chip was designed, in which the electromigration test structure is integrated with a heating element and a diode as temperature sensor in order to generate fast temperature swings and to monitor them. Experimental results showed that with the introduction of fast thermal cycling as a preconditioning, the electromigration lifetime is significantly reduced. We observed that the reduction of the electromigration lifetime depends on the stress time, temperature range and the minimum temperature. Electromigration simulations using a two-dimensional simulator confirm the extrusion short circuit as failure mechanism.