MOSIS CMP and Antenna Rules

Minimum Density Rule

Many fine featured processes utilize CMP (Chemical-Mechanical Polishing) to achieve planarity. Currently, for MOSIS, the Agilent/HP 0.50 micron, the AMI 0.50 micron, and all the 0.35 micron and smaller processes are in this category. Effective CMP requires that the variations in feature density on a layer be restricted. The following fill rules may be refined.

xx.1 Minimum poly layer density 15%
xx.2 Minimum metal layer density (applies separately to each metal layer with a density requirement). For TSMC processes, all metal layers must meet density. For Agilent and AMI processes, all but the top-most metal must meet density. 30%
xx.3 Minimum metal layer density for Cap_Top_Metal (TSMC only) 3%

The density of a layer in any particular region is the total area covered by the drawn features on that layer divided by the area of the region. The smallest unit of applicability of these rules is a 1 mm x 1 mm square.

If permitted by the customer, MOSIS fills in the open areas on projects fabricated on the affected processes. The basic fill cell (see below) is 5 µm x 5 µm and consists of a properly connected stack of active, poly, and all of the metals with a density requirement. This cell is placed in any and all open areas of the projects. Open area, here, is any region that contains no well nor active nor poly nor any metal including topmost, and is at least 5 micrometers away from any such layout. Filling is thus confined to "large" open areas of the project (where large begins around 15 µm x 15 µm).

You may, therefore, choose to leave large, open regions, knowing that MOSIS will fill them for you. Or you may choose to implement your own filling, so that you have complete control of your layout. One source of dummy fill tools is CMP Technology, Inc., listed on our Third Party Services page.

The one situation that must be avoided under these minimum density rules is large non-empty regions that are devoid of one (or more) of the minimum density layers

DS1 100/50;
(SCMOS 5 x 5 micron fill cell for levels up to metal3);
LCAA; B 65 135  75 125;
LCPG; B 70 200 170 125;
LCCC; B 25  25  75 125;
      B 25  25 170 125;
LCMF; B180 180 125 125;
LCVA; B 25  25 125  90;
LCMS; B180 180 125 125;
LCVS; B 25  25 125 160;
LCMT; B180 180 125 125;
LCX;  B250 250 125 125; (cell outline);

C 1;

The cell layout depicted is idealized. The actual layout we generate varies from process to process, based on the foundry's own fill rules. For those foundries that encourage, or at least allow, floating layout in fill cells, we generate only the poly and metal layout; the active, contact and via layers are not filled. For those foundries that require that the fill cells be electrically grounded, we generate the entire stack, so that the cell is electrically connected to the substrate. We also extend the stack upward through as many metal layers as required (all or all but the topmost). We also size various of the layers to meet process rules and/or to alter the density effect.

Currently, the only MOSIS foundry that requires grounded fill is Agilent/ HP.

Process-Induced Damage (otherwise known as "Antenna Rules") Rules - General Requirements

The "Antenna Rules" deal with process induced gate oxide damage caused when exposed polysilicon and metal structures, connected to a thin oxide transistor, collect charge from the processing environment (e.g., reactive ion etch) and develop potentials sufficiently large to cause Fowler Nordheim current to flow through the thin oxide. Given the known process charge fluence, a figure of exposed conductor area to transistor gate area ratio is determined which guarantees Time Dependent Dielectric Breakdown (TDDB) reliability requirements for the fabricator. Failure to consider antenna rules in a design may lead to either reduced performance in transistors exposed to process induced damage, or may lead to total failure if the antenna rules are seriously violated.

The polysilicon rules require that the area of the polysilicon over field oxide divided by the area of the transistor gate (thin oxide area) must be less than Np (where Np is a limit that depends on the process and on design targets). For example, a 200 µm long by 1 µm wide polysilicon wire connected to two channel regions of 2 µm X 0.6 µm and 1 µm X 0.6 µm has an antenna ratio of 111. Usually the polysilicon rules are fairly conservative, so the antenna ratio in this example may be in violation of some fabricator's polysilicon antenna rule.

A similar calculation applies to metal wires connected to transistor gates. In this case, you must first obey the Np:1 rule for any polysilicon. Metal antenna rules can be a little more variable depending upon how conservative a fabricator is in dealing with this damage mechanism. The most conservative approach recognizes that process induced damage is a cumulative effect. In this case, you calculate the total area of the poly + metal1 + metal2 + metal3 + ... and divide by the area of the transistor channels connected to this structure. This ratio must be less than Nm.

A less conservative metal antenna rule defines ratios for each metal level (Nm1, Nm2, Nm3, etc.) and recognize that lower levels of metal are protected by inter-level dielectric during the etch process for the metal above. Other metal rules recognize that photoresist covers metal lines during reactive ion etch, so the antenna rule only needs to consider the area of the exposed metal edges. This results in rules defined for area ratio calculations as follows: Ratio = 2[(L_metal+W_metal)*t_metal]/(W_channel*L_channel), where, W_metal, L_metal, and t_metal are the width, length and thickness of the metal line connected to a total channel area defined by W_channel by L_channel.

If metal1 is connected to an active area junction and to a poly structure connected to a transistor channel, then the Nm:1 rule is relaxed. However, the poly Np:1 ratio rule still applies. The reason for this exception is that charge induced current is safely shunted through the junction to the substrate and, therefore, does not cause gate oxide damage. The junction area ratio (A_total/A_junction) must not be more than N_max:1. Note: A_total is the sum of poly and metal area connected to a thin oxide region.

An additional absolute area rule is also imposed for additional safety margin. The total area of exposed conductor that is electrically connected to a gate channel area limited to A_max µm². Other constraints may apply, but these constraints are specific to a particular fabricator.

There are layout techniques to help deal with antenna ratio rules. For example, if a design uses a large array of clocked devices connected to a single clock source via a metal1 clock distribution structure then a "cut and link" method can be used to moderate the antenna rule effects. In this method, the metal1 distribution structure is divided up into pieces of metal1 connected to gate structures such that the antenna rule is obeyed. Short links from metal1 to metal2 then back to metal1 connect the clock distribution structure in a way that it prevents the total area of the clock distribution structure from being connected to gate poly structures during metal1 etch. If the metal2 links are the minimum links necessary to make the connection, then the current induced in the metal2 area is very small (Nm2 << metal2 rule).

Specific numbers for the antenna ratio rules are contained in design rules for each fabricator. MOSIS customers can obtain this information in the fabricator rules.