Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2016.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Cary Y. Yang


Advances in semiconductor technology due to aggressive downward scaling of on-chip feature sizes have led to rapid rises in resistivity and current density of interconnect conductors. As a result, current interconnect materials, Cu and W, are subject to performance and reliability constraints approaching or exceeding their physical limits. Therefore, alternative materials such as nanocarbons, metal silicides, and Ag nanowires are actively considered as potential replacements to meet such constraints. Among nanocarbons, carbon nanotube (CNT) is among the leading replacement candidate for on-chip interconnect vias due to its high aspect-ratio nanostructure and superior currentcarrying capacity to those of Cu, W, and other potential candidates. However, contact resistance of CNT with metal is a major bottleneck in device functionalization. To meet the challenge posed by contact resistance, several techniques are designed and implemented. First, the via fabrication and CNT growth processes are developed to increase the CNT packing density inside via and to ensure no CNT growth on via sidewalls. CNT vias with cross-sections down to 40 nm  40 nm are fabricated, which have linewidths similar to those used for on-chip interconnects in current integrated circuit manufacturing technology nodes. Then the via top contact is metallized to increase the total CNT area interfacing with the contact metal and to improve the contact quality and reproducibility. Current-voltage characteristics of individual fabricated CNT vias are measured using a nanoprober and contact resistance is extracted with a first-reported contact resistance extraction scheme for 40 nm linewidth. Based on results for 40 nm and 60 nm top-contact metallized CNT vias, we demonstrate that not only are their current-carrying capacities two orders of magnitude higher than their Cu and W counterparts, they are enhanced by reduced via resistance due to contact engineering. While the current-carrying capacities well exceed those projected for end-of-roadmap technology nodes, the via resistances remain a challenge to replace Cu and W, though our results suggest that further innovations in contact engineering could begin to overcome such challenge.