Scaling effects on microstructure and reliability for Cu interconnects
Continuous scaling of Cu interconnect structures can significantly impact reliability-limiting processes such as electromigration and stress-induced voiding. Prior to the 65 nm technology node, mass transport under electromigration is dominated by diffusion along the Cu/dielectric cap interface and the electromigration lifetime will degrade by about half for every generation, even with the same current density. Beyond the 65 nm node, small grains were found to mix with bamboo grains in the 90 nm Cu damascene lines and the contribution of the grain boundary transport degraded the electromigration lifetime. The scaling effects on microstructure and electromigration reliability are examined in this paper with the objective of identifying the key issues and exploring potential solutions for sub-100 nm Cu interconnects. We discuss first the scaling effect on electromigration lifetime and the effect due to the small grains on electromigration lifetime and statistics. This is followed by a discussion on grain growth studies focusing on the formation of small grains and a recent simulation study on small grain effect on electromigration reliability. This paper concludes with a discussion of some recent developments in analytical techniques to investigate grain structure and electromigration reliability in sub-100 nm Cu lines.