Lifetest IC failures due to metal extrusion and migration resulting from process-induced stress relief

Phil Schani, Horacio Mendez, Dean J. Dreier, Pat Liston, Michael Phillips, John Sweeney, Mark Franklin, Norm Herr, Brian Aubin, Paul Tuohy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

1 Citation (Scopus)


A new multilevel metal failure mechanism is presented in the context of improved manufacturing and reliability. Device failures, with electrical overstress (EOS) characteristics, are shown to be caused by metal-to-metal shorts. These shorts occur when lower metal extrudes through vias and creates upper layer metal protrusions. The metal protrusions can produce immediate or time dependent shorts to closely spaced adjacent metal lines. The metal migration that forms the protrusion failures is unrelated to classical electromigration. This mechanism is unique in that the physical stresses associated with the fabrication process/materials dominates the creation of these protrusions and failures happen without any significant component of electromigration. Effects of stresses from fabrication will be discussed including: sintering conditions, interlevel dielectric properties, and metal system composition. Reliability studies are shown to support the theory that the accelerated lifetest failures from this mechanism occur when a thin oxide breaks down between the protrusion and its adjacent metal line.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1993
EventMicroelectronics Manufacturing and Reliability - San Jose, CA, USA
Duration: 21 Sep 199222 Sep 1992


ConferenceMicroelectronics Manufacturing and Reliability
CitySan Jose, CA, USA


  • failure analysis
  • microelectronics
  • stress analysis
  • electrical overstress
  • electromigration
  • metal extrusion


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