The interconnect makes up the intricate wiring that connects the billions of individual components (transistors, capacitors, etc.) on a chip. As smaller and smaller devices are packed closer together, more interconnect levels are needed, and connecting everything becomes increasingly challenging. In fact, as the shrinking of feature dimensions has continued, interconnects are now becoming the speed bottleneck in today’s most advanced chips. As a result, techniques that minimize resistance of the metal connections and novel dielectric materials that boost insulating capacity are needed. To produce the latest high-performance electronic devices, advanced interconnect structures involve narrow geometries and complex film layers, which require increasingly flexible and precise process capabilities.
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Industry experts came together recently to discuss some of the critical challenges facing interconnect scaling. As the number of transistors on advanced chips continues to increase, fabricating the tiny wires that connect them becomes more complex, raising several questions. How will we fabricate these dense, complicated interconnects?