Considerable progress has been made in development of thin films of nanoporous silica (also known as aerogels or low density xerogels) for ILD and IMD applications. Advantages of these materials include high thermal stability, small pore size, and similarity to conventional deposition processes, precursors and final material (silica). We have previously reported success in synthesizing low density, low dielectric constant (K<2) thin films using ambient pressure processing. However, processing of those films was complicated due to large number of process steps and difficulties in independently controlling both film thickness and film porosity.
Nanoglass has now developed a new process which considerably reduces the number of process steps and allows independent control of both film thickness and porosity. The dielectric constant of the films can be tailored between 1.3 and 2.5. These films have improved mechanical properties due to controlled pore size and narrow pore size distribution and also because of higher density. The trade-offs between density, mechanical strength and dielectric constant for these types of porous solids will be elucidated. The known properties of the film and the process flow for deposition and post-deposition curing and the role of the relative rates of reaction, gelation, aging, and drying will be presented.