As integrated circuit (IC) dimensions continue to decrease, RC delay, crosstalk noise, and power dissipation of the interconnect structure become limiting factors for ultra-large-scale integration of integrated circuits. Materials with low dielectric constant are being developed to replace silicon dioxide as interlevel dielectrics. In this review, the general requirements for process integration and material properties of low-k dielectrics are first discussed. The discussion is focused on the challenge in developing materials with low dielectric constant but strong thermomechanical properties. This is followed by a description of the material characterization techniques, including several recently developed for porous materials. Finally, the material characteristics of candidate low-k dielectrics will be discussed to illustrate their structure-property relations.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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