Copper Interconnects in Altera Devices

Semiconductor companies are constantly striving to improve device performance in order to meet the electronic and communication industries' high-bandwidth and high-performance requirements. Using copper instead of aluminum as a metal interconnect for metal layers helps address these increased speed and density requirements. In the past, most semiconductor manufacturers have used aluminum interconnects for their devices. Although aluminum is a good conductor, it becomes less practical to use because of size limitations as semiconductor processes shrink to 0.15 and 0.13 Ám. Some semiconductor manufacturers use copper interconnects for the top two layers containing the power distribution connections and other critical signals like clock and fast lines, and aluminum for the remaining metal layers. However, since programmable logic device (PLD) system performance is driven by interconnect delays, every interconnect is critical in the design. To gain the full advantages of copper interconnects, all the metal layers must be copper.

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