Interconnects: Exploring Semi-Metals (Penn State, IBM, Rice University)


A technical paper titled “Exploring Topological Semi-Metals for Interconnects” was published by researchers at Penn State, IBM, and Rice University, with funding by Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC).


“The size of transistors has drastically reduced over the years. Interconnects have likewise also been scaled down. Today, conventional copper (Cu)-based interconnects face a significant impediment to further scaling since their electrical conductivity decreases at smaller dimensions, which also worsens the signal delay and energy consumption. As a result, alternative scalable materials such as semi-metals and 2D materials were being investigated as potential Cu replacements. In this paper, we experimentally showed that CoPt can provide better resistivity than Cu at thin dimensions and proposed hybrid poly-Si with a CoPt coating for local routing in standard cells for compactness. We evaluated the performance gain for DRAM/eDRAM, and area vs. performance trade-off for D-Flip-Flop (DFF) using hybrid poly-Si with a thin film of CoPt. We gained up to a 3-fold reduction in delay and a 15.6% reduction in cell area with the proposed hybrid interconnect. We also studied the system-level interconnect design using NbAs, a topological semi-metal with high electron mobility at the nanoscale, and demonstrated its advantages over Cu in terms of resistivity, propagation delay, and slew rate. Our simulations revealed that NbAs could reduce the propagation delay by up to 35.88%. We further evaluated the potential system-level performance gain for NbAs-based interconnects in cache memories and observed an instructions per cycle (IPC) improvement of up to 23.8%.”

Find the technical paper here. Published Feb. 2023.

Kundu, Satwik, Rupshali Roy, M. Saifur Rahman, Suryansh Upadhyay, Rasit Onur Topaloglu, Suzanne E. Mohney, Shengxi Huang, and Swaroop Ghosh. 2023. “Exploring Topological Semi-Metals for Interconnects” Journal of Low Power Electronics and Applications 13, no. 1: 16. https://doi.org/10.3390/jlpea13010016.

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