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We report the first detailed study of dishing effects in chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) of oxide films, observed during the development of an advanced CMP‐only trench isolation process. The degree of dishing has been determined for field widths ranging from 0.3 μm to 4 mm and was found to be highly pattern geometry (field width) sensitive, increasing from ∼0 nm at a field width of 5 μm and below to 200 nm at 4 mm. Although this dishing effect makes complete planarization in a large field oxide region (on the order of 1 mm) difficult, it poses no serious problem for trench isolation in narrow field regions due to its reduced effect at small field geometries.