by Ed Korczynski, Senior Technical Editor, Solid State Technology
On-chip interconnects made primarily of copper metal insulated with SiOC low-k dielectric material are the current state-of-the-art for the commercial IC manufacturing industry. A report from the TECHCET Group quantifies the materials that are forecasted to be needed to form interconnects for 65nm to 32nm node ICs. Except for some new barrier layers, the only major change on the interconnect horizon is the use of pores or air-gaps in the dielectric material to get to ultra low-k (ULK, a.k.a. extreme low-k or ELK).
Though carbon nano-tubes (CNT) have been considered as new conductors, and self-assembled dielectrics have also been investigated, commercial IC fabs are necessarily slow to change proven technologies, and so it is almost certain that these newer approaches will not be used for commercial IC manufacturing anytime soon.