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However, in electrically biased samples, the rate-limiting step for interconnect degradation could increase with increasing current. Interestingly, increased currents also cause Joule heating which increases the local temperature and reduces the amount of adsorbed moisture, and the possibility of water ingress, at the corrosion site. Hence, under the test conditions used in these studies, there appears to be a competition between the temperature-induced encapsulant failure and the amount of corrosion-inducing adsorbed water.

The extent of oxidation, as measured by the thickness of the copper oxide lace formed around the copper trace, shown in Figure 6 , increased with increasing temperature and duration of stress, as shown in Figure 7. Although the samples studied in this work were stressed for different durations, between 3 to 18 days, the measured copper oxide thickness did not show time dependence.

Thus, the formation of the copper-oxide film appears to be self-limiting. This is consistent with Platzman et al. As the oxide layer thickness increases, the electric field drops across the film, and ceases to be strong enough to induce the metal cations to migrate, thus limiting the native copper-oxide film growth. The native copper oxide then undergoes chemical transformation toward the stable CuO film. Thickness of copper oxide film formed around Cu interconnect trace as a function of stress temperature for at least 3 days.

The copper-oxide film thickness was independent of stress time after 2 days. The error bars are entirely attributable to the different stress current used. The fit equation insert represents the relationship between the thickness of the copper oxide film around the copper RDL traces and the stress temperature.

The activation energy for the copper oxide growth, calculated from the Arrhenius fit in Figure 8 is about 0. The breach increases with increasing stress temperatures, as seen in Figure 6. Once the encapsulant fails, the copper interconnects oxidize rapidly due to the adsorption of water from the ambient air. The Arrhenius fit of the copper oxide thickness in nanometers as a function of stress temperature.

The activation energy for the copper oxide growth was calculated to be about 4.

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  • Microwave Monitoring of Atmospheric Corrosion of Interconnects.

Figure 9 compares the room temperature optical micrographs of test devices heated to various temperatures for at least 3 days. The color change may be attributed to thermal oxidation of organic functional groups leading to chain scission and discoloration in the encapsulating polymer. The copper oxide film formed from the oxidation of the copper was monitored by the microwave insertion loss S21 at MHz.

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Figure 10 compares the S21 at MHz to the thickness of the copper-oxide film formed around the copper interconnects. Increasing the stress temperature resulted in increased transmission loss S21 due to increased electrical resistance R DC as the increasing thickness of the copper-oxide film that form around the copper interconnects reduces the conduction path. In this paper, the measured copper oxide thickness is very weakly dependent on the magnitude of the forced current, and independent of the stress time. Correlation between the thickness of copper oxide film formed around Cu interconnect trace in samples maintained at stress temperature for at least 3 days and the Insertion loss S21 at MHz.

The intercept on the y-axis represents the room temperature insertion loss of the as received material, prior to ant stress. Using the S21 as an index for copper oxide film thickness, we can monitor the extent of corrosion RDL as a function of stress temperature.

Reliability of Microtechnology – Interconnects, Devices and Systems

Figure 11 shows the evolution of the S21 at MHz as a function of device stress temperature. The plot shows a sigmoidal trace, indicating that there are at least two, probably competing, processes in the range of temperature studied. This data complements our previous study in which the S21 appears to recover if the stress is maintained for a period shorter than 48 hours. Such that, taken together the data suggest that the initial corrosion process is reversible i. Temperature-driven transformations within the isolation dielectrics are less likely to be responsible for the elastic processes as they are irreversible. Evolution of the S21 at MHz with device stress temperature for at least 3 days. The idea of permanent change in the interconnect resistance after long stress times is further supported by the evolution of the measured direct current resistance R DC over time.

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As shown in Figure 12 , there is good correlation between the time evolution of insertion losses S21 and that of R DC. The resistance increase is attributable to the corrosion of the interconnect which reduces the current conduction path cross-section, as the copper is oxidized, forcing the current to go through the highly resistive TiN barrier which acts as a shunt layer. Close inspection of the R DC trace in Figure 12 shows a small step increase in the resistance, starting at the 2.

This may be indicative of a transformation that precedes the corrosion of the metals line, such as passivation layer breach allowing water adsorption on the metal surface. In the following, we discuss the signal integrity consequences of the RDL corrosion on the capacitance-dominated TSV enabled interconnects structures.

In the unstressed test devices, time domain Gbps pseudorandom bit sequence PRBS can be propagated without significant distortion. However, the signal propagation in the thermally stressed devices suffers significant distortion due to changes in impedance matching, attributable to increased capacitance loading.

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The changes in the eye diagrams are indicative of DUT mismatch to the reference impedance of the measurement bridge. Ordinally, such mismatch would present as increases in the return loss S11 ; thus, we had expected increasing S11 with increasing copper oxide thickness. However, we did not observe such systematic increase in S11 with stress time or temperature, indicating that the changes in signal integrity may be the result of a complicated mechanistic regime, including human handling issues.

Changes in microwave signal scattering occur when copper interconnects corrode, principally due to device resistance increase from oxidation of metal lines. Pre-existing mechanical damage such as thermally driven passivation failure, appear to gate the metal oxidation rate.

The insertion losses S21 appears to correlate with the thickness of the of the metal oxide corrosion. Thus, the measurements reported in this paper allow us to directly observe resistive changes in insertion loss due to materials transformation, e. The potential applications of the insertion loss method include rapid detection of corrosion, evaluation of encapsulation materials and passivation processes, and prediction of interconnect lifetime under in harsh environments.

We may also be able use the microwave signal propagation characteristics to distinguish between corrosion and electromigration failure modes. It must be emphasized that whereas we have attributed the observed insertion loss predominantly to dissipative loss, the total loss mechanism is not purely resistive. There are many mechanisms that contribute to the observed radiation loss, and further work is needed to resolve the contributing mechanisms.

National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Author manuscript; available in PMC Jul 2. Papa K. Amoah , 1 Dmitry Veksler , 1 Christopher E. Christopher E. Yaw S.


Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Copyright notice. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4. Abstract Traditional metrology has been unable to adequately address the reliability needs of emerging integrated circuits at the nano scale; thus, new metrology and techniques are needed.

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