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Three different types of porous low-k dielectric films, with similar dielectric constants, are characterized using x-ray porosimetry (XRP). XRP is used to extract critical structural information, such as the average density, wall density, porosity, and pore size distribution. The materials include a plasma-enhanced-chemical-vapor-deposited carbon-doped oxide film composed of Si, C, O, and H (SiCOH) and two spin cast silsesquioxane type films—methylsilsesquioxane with a polymeric porogen (porous MSQ) and hydrogensilsesquioxane with a high boiling point solvent (porous HSQ). The porous SiCOH film displays the smallest pore sizes, while porous HSQ film has both the highest density wall material and porosity. The porous MSQ film exhibits a broad range of pores with the largest average pore size. We demonstrate that the average pore size obtained by the well-established method of neutron scattering and x-ray reflectivity is in good agreement with the XRP results. © 2004 American Institute of Physics.