Interconnect delay is shown to be a performance-limiting factor for ULSI circuits when feature size is scaled into the deep submicron region, due to a rapid increase in interconnect resistivity and capacitance. Dielectric materials with lower values of permittivity are needed to reduce the line-to-line capacitance as metal spacing decreases. However, the challenge is to successfully integrate these materials into on-chip interconnects. A new multilevel interconnect scheme has been developed that gives improved performance through insertion of a low-dielectric-constant material between metal leads. A novel polymer/Si02 composite dielectric structure provides lower line-to-line capacitance while alleviating many of the integration and reliability problems associated with polymers in standard interconnect processing.