CONNECT - CarbON Nanotube compositE InterconneCTs
What we do
As the chip size goes down, interconnects become major bottlenecks irrespective of the application domain due to electromigration issues and an ever increasing power consumption.
The CONNECT project investigates ultra-fine CNT lines and metal-CNT composite material for addressing the issues of current state-of-the-art copper interconnects.
Novel CNT interconnect architectures for the exploration of circuit- and architecture-level performance and energy efficiency will be developed. CMOS compatibility as well as challenges of transferring new processes into industrial mass production will be addressed.
The members of the CONNECT consortium from Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain and France are embedded along the electronics value chain from fundamental research to end‐users and bring together some of the most renowned research groups in that field in Europe.
With significantly improved electrical resistivity, ampacity, thermal and electromigration properties of CNT interconnects compared to state-of-the-art approaches for conventional copper interconnects, an increased power and scaling density of CMOS or CMOS extension will be available and applicable to alternative computing schemes such as neuromorphic computing.
The technologies developed in this project are key for both performance and manufacturability of scaled microelectronics to manifest miniaturized microelectronic products with enhanced functionality at ever decreasing cost.
The procurement of CONNECT will foster the recovery of market shares of the European electronic sector and prepare the industry for future developments of the electronic landscape.
CNTs as alternative interconnect materials have already been studied worldwide since 2002, owing to their promising intrinsic current carrying potential. However, the achieved performances are still far from the requirements of the micro and nanoelectronics industry.
The CONNECT consortium thus believes that a solid performance demonstration is required to finally trigger the acceptance of the paradigm-shifting use of CNTs by key European players in microelectronics.
The originality of our approach resides particularly in our choice to focus on the development and manufacture of horizontal CNT-based interconnects on top of vertical interconnects with an emphasis on the throughout characterization and simulation of their electrical and thermal transport properties. The project addresses key aspects of technology development ranging from development of simulation and characterization tools to front-end-of-line and back-end-of-line compatible process development.
The CONNECT project will exploit all possible synergies in the development of all these pillars to accelerate and verify developments and allow a well proven performance demonstration at the end of the third year. The integration of electroplated carbon nanotubes will be a challenge for state-of-art semiconductor industry. Homogeneity and reliability of process flows must be proven and consolidated. Additionally, compatibility of chemicals, tools and processes with adequate economics must be fulfilled.
Once this new cutting edge technology of CONNECT will be demonstrated, the way for innovative integration efforts will be paved. Within CONNECT integration potentials will be pointed out and realized as demonstrator.
(1) Demonstrate cutting-edge electrical resistivity on CNT lines with diameter below 10nm made of individual doped MWCNT.
(2) Develop process growth and impregnation methods for aligned CNT-Cu composite material that achieve trendsetting current carrying capability for solving electromigration issues with Cu interconnects.
(3) Demonstrate the electrical, thermal and electromigration properties of the CNT and aligned CNT-Cu composite interconnects on dedicated test structures. Integrate the aligned CNT-Cu composite with compatible CMOS back-end-of-line process and demonstrate on a two levels interconnect (via + lines) functional device with improved electromigration.
(4) Push advanced characterization methods to be able to relate dopant and morphology of single CNTs to their electronic and thermal transport behavior.
(5) Develop physical-driven models for CNTs and Cu-CNT composite materials to study their electrical, thermal properties for doped individual and bundle lines. The goal is to explore design methods for energy efficiency at circuit and architectural-level with novel CNT interconnects architectures featuring energies of few pJ per bit.
(6) Exploit the participation of academic partners from differing scientific backgrounds to employ, educate and train young and aspiring people to advanced technologies ranging from sophisticated numerical tools to scaled CMOS with CNT-based interconnect integration.
Our Targets in a Nutshell
How our Project Fits in the European Roadmap for Electronics