Materials, Processes, and Characterization of Extended Air-gaps for the Intra-level Interconnection of Integrated Circuits
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Materials, Processes, and Characterization of Extended Air-gaps for the Intra-level Interconnection of Integrated Circuits Seongho Park 157 pages Directed by Dr. Paul A. Kohl and Dr. Sue Ann Bidstrup Allen The integration of an air-gap as an ultra low dielectric constant material in an intra-metal dielectric region of interconnect structure in integrated circuits was investigated in terms of material properties of a thermally decomposable sacrificial polymer, fabrication processes and electrical performance. Extension of the air-gap into the inter-layer dielectric region reduces the interconnect capacitance. In order to enhance the hardness of a polymer for the better process reliabilities, a conventional norbornene-based sacrificial polymer was electron-beam irradiated. Although the hardness of the polymer increased, the thermal properties degraded. A new high modulus tetracyclododecene-based sacrificial polymer was characterized and compared to the norbornene-based polymer in terms of hardness, process reliability and thermal properties. The tetracyclododecene-based polymer was harder and showed better process reliability than the norbornene-based sacrificial polymer. Using the tetracyclododecene-based sacrificial polymer, a single layer Cu/air-gap and extended Cu/air-gap structures were fabricated. The effective dielectric constant of the air-gap and extended air-gap structures were 2.42 and 2.17, respectively. This meets the requirements for the 32 nm node. Moisture uptake of the extended Cu/air-gap structure increased the effective dielectric constant. The exposure of the structure to hexamethyldisilazane vapor removed the absorbed moisture and changed the structure hydrophobic, improving the integration reliability. The integration processes of the air-gap and the extended air-gap into a dual damascene Cu metallization process has been proposed compared to state-of-the-art integration approaches.