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Simulation of the Effect of Dielectric Air Gaps on Interconnect Reliability

  • L. C. Bassman (a1), R. P. Vinci (a2), B. P. Shieh (a3), D.-K. Kim (a2), J. P. McVittie (a3), K. C. Saraswat (a3) and M. D. Deal (a3)...


We present a modeling strategy for assessing the reliability cost for improved performance from modified interconnect structures. We have studied air gaps which have been deliberately introduced in the passivation between aluminum interconnect lines as a means for increasing transmission speed by decreasing dielectric capacitance. The models allow examination of tradeoffs between improved circuit performance and decreased reliability due to dielectric cracking. Stresses in the dielectric due to electromigration in the metal were modeled using finite element analysis. These stresses were used to compute an estimate of the mean time to failure relative to the case with no air gap using an electromigration failure model from MIT.



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[1] Jeng, S.P., Havemann, R.H., and Chang, M.C., in Advanced Metallization for Devices and Circuits-- Science, Technology and Manufacturability, edited by Murarka, S.P., Katz, A., Tu, K.N., and Maex, K. (Mater. Res. Soc. Proc. 337, Pittsburgh, PA 1994) pp. 2531.
[2] Shieh, B.P., Saraswat, K.C., McVittie, J.P., List, S., Islamraja, M., and Havemann, R.H., “Air-Gap Formation During IMD Deposition to Lower Interconnect Capacitance,” submitted to Electron Device Letters.
[3] MARC K6.2, MARC Analysis Research Corporation, Palo Alto, CA.
[4] Knowlton, B.D., Clement, J.J., Frank, R.I., and Thompson, C.V., in Materials Reliability in Microelectronics V, edited by Oates, A.S., Filter, W.F., Rosenberg, R., Greer, A.L., and Gadepally, K. (Mater. Res. Soc. Proc. 391, Pittsburgh, PA 1995) pp. 189196.
[5] Knowlton, B.D., Clement, J.J., and Thompson, C.V., “Simulation of the Effects of Grain Structure and Grain Growth on Electromigration and the Reliability of Interconnects,” to appear in J. Appl. Phys. (1997).
[6] Korhonen, M.A., Børgesen, P., Tu, K.N., and Li, C.-Y., J. Appl. Phys. 73, 3790 (1993).
[7] Thompson, C.V. (private communication).


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