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We explain how the manufacturing technology and reliability for advanced interconnects is impacted by the choice of metallization and interlayer dielectric (ILD) materials. The replacement of aluminum alloys by copper, as the metal of choice at the 130-nm technology node, mandated notable changes in integration, metallization, and patterning technologies. Those changes directly impacted the reliability performance of the interconnect system. Although further improvement in interconnect performance is being pursued through utilizing progressively lower dielectric constant (low-k) ILD materials from one technology node to another, the inherent weak mechanical strength of low-k ILDs and the potential for degradation in the dielectric constant during processing pose serious challenges to the implementation of such materials in high-volume manufacturing. We consider the cases of two ILD materials, carbon-doped silicon dioxide and low-k spin-on-polymer, to illustrate the impact of the ILD choice on the process technology and reliability of copper interconnects.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2005