US 20050212080 A1
System and method for providing an electrical fuse having a p-n junction diode. A preferred embodiment comprises a cathode, an anode, and one or more links formed between the cathode and the anode. The cathode and the portion of the cathode adjoining the link are doped with a first impurity, preferably a p-type impurity. The anode and the portion of the link adjoining the anode are doped with a second impurity, preferably an n-type impurity. The junction of the first impurity and the second impurity in the link forms a p-n junction diode. A conductive layer, such as a silicide layer, is formed over the p-n junction diodes. In an alternative embodiment, a plurality of p-n junction diodes may be formed in each link. One or more contacts may be formed to provide electrical contact to the cathode and the anode.
1. An electrical fuse comprising:
a cathode doped with a first impurity of a first conductivity type;
an anode doped with a second impurity of a second conductivity type;
a plurality of links electrically coupling the cathode and the anode, each link having a first portion and a second portion, the first portion being doped with the first impurity, the second portion being doped with the second impurity, one or more p-n junction diodes being formed at a junction between the first portion and the second portion; and
a conductive layer over the p-n junction diodes.
2. The electrical fuse of
3. The electrical fuse of
4. The electrical fuse of
5. The electrical fuse of
6. The electrical fuse of
7. The electrical fuse of
8. The electrical fuse of
9. The electrical fuse of
10. The electrical fuse of
The present invention relates generally to a system and method for an electrical fuse, and more particularly to a system and method for an electrical fuse for use in semiconductor devices.
Fuses are commonly used in integrated circuits to provide redundancy and programming capabilities. To increase yield in integrated circuits such as memory chips, it is common to include redundant memory cells on the memory chips. If a memory circuit is found to be defective or is not needed, the fuse may be blown thereby activating or deactivating the redundant memory cells. Another common practice is to utilize fuses to program or customize integrated circuits for a particular application or customer. In this manner, the same chip may be produced and customized for individual customers by programming the fuses after fabrication, thereby reducing the fabrication costs.
Typically, fuses comprise a conductive link that may be blown or ruptured to prevent current from flowing. In one particular type of fuse, the conductive link is formed of a metal, such as aluminum or copper, and blown by a laser. The use of the laser, however, requires complicated processing steps and expensive laser equipment.
Another type of fuse involves the use of an electrical fuse, which may be blown by passing an electrical current of sufficient magnitude through the selected fuses for a sufficient period of time to alter the electrical properties of the link, generally increasing the resistance of the link. A common design for such a fuse comprises a cathode and an anode interconnected by a thinner fuse link. Such a structure is commonly formed of doped polysilicon or undoped/doped polysilicon having a silicided surface.
To blow the fuse, a sufficiently high current is applied to the link causing high current concentrations or “current crowding” where the dimensions of the fuse are reduced in the link. The current crowding causes silicide agglomeration or melting of the link, increasing the resistance of the link. A sensing circuit is then able to sense the amount of resistance to determine the state of the fuse.
In an attempt to reduce the amount of current and the time period required to blow the fuse, further attempts have incorporated a p-n junction diode in conjunction with the silicided layer. In a typical design, the cathode, anode, and fuse link are formed of a polysilicon material. The cathode of the fuse is doped with p-type impurities, and the fuse link and the anode are doped with n-type impurities. The junction of the p-type cathode and the n-type fuse link forms a p-n junction diode. The surface of the polysilicon at the p-n junction diode is silicided.
To blow the fuse, the cathode is negatively biased and the anode is positively biased causing a reverse bias to be applied to the p-n junction diode. Because the p-n junction diode does not allow the current to flow in this configuration, the current flows through the silicided layer. The current crowding in the silicide layer over the p-n junction causes silicide migration or melting of the link, thereby blowing the fuse. Thereafter, the link is a high-resistance path and allows sensing circuits to detect the blown state of the fuse.
These and other problems are generally solved or circumvented, and technical advantages are generally achieved, by preferred embodiments of the present invention in which an electrical fuse having a p-n junction diode is provided.
In accordance with a preferred apparatus embodiment of the present invention, an electrical fuse comprises a cathode, an anode, and one or more links electrically coupling the cathode to the anode, wherein each link has a first portion and a second portion. The cathode and the first portion are doped with a first impurity, and the anode and the second portion are doped with a second impurity. Preferably, the first impurity is a p-type impurity, and the second impurity is an n-type impurity. One or more p-n junction diodes are formed in the link at the junctions of portions of the link doped with the first impurity type and portions of the link doped with the second impurity type. A conductive layer, such as a silicide, is formed over the p-n junction diodes. One or more contacts may be formed to provide an electrical connection to the anode and the cathode.
In accordance with a preferred method embodiment of the present invention, a method for forming an electrical fuse is provided. The fuse is formed, preferably from polysilicon, having a cathode, an anode, and one or more links electrically coupling the cathode to the anode, wherein each link has a first portion and a second portion. A first doping process is performed to dope the cathode and the first portion of the links with a first impurity type. A second doping process is performed to dope the anode and the second portion of the links with a second impurity type. One or more p-n junction diodes are formed in the link at the junctions of portions of the link doped with the first impurity type and portions of the link doped with the second impurity type. A conductive layer, such as a silicide, is formed over the p-n junctions, and one or more contacts may be formed to provide an electrical connection to the anode and the cathode.
The foregoing has outlined rather broadly the features and technical advantages of the present invention in order that the detailed description of the invention that follows may be better understood. Additional features and advantages of the invention will be described hereinafter which form the subject of the claims of the invention. It should be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the conception and specific embodiment disclosed may be readily utilized as a basis for modifying or designing other structures or processes for carrying out the same purposes of the present invention. It should also be realized by those skilled in the art that such equivalent constructions do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.
For a more complete understanding of the present invention, and the advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following descriptions taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
The making and using of the presently preferred embodiments are discussed in detail below. It should be appreciated, however, that the present invention provides many applicable inventive concepts that can be embodied in a wide variety of specific contexts. The specific embodiments discussed are merely illustrative of specific ways to make and use the invention, and do not limit the scope of the invention.
The present invention will be described with respect to preferred embodiments in a specific context, namely an electrical fuse having one or more links, each link having one or more p-n junction diodes. The cathode and anode are symmetrical and approximately the same size, and the links are straight. The present invention, however, may also be applied to other fuse structures having varying shapes, sizes, and configurations.
After the photoresist material has been applied and patterned, an etching process such as a wet or dry, anisotropic or isotropic etch process, but preferably an anisotropic dry etch process, is performed to form the cathode 120, anode 122, and link 124. Generally, the cathode 120 and the anode 122 are wider areas interconnected with a narrower link 124. Preferably, the cathode 120 and the anode 122 are symmetrical.
The size and the shape of the cathode 120, the anode 122, and the link 124 may also vary. In the preferred embodiment illustrated in
To prevent doping of the cathode 120 and the remaining portion of the link 124, a first mask 126 is formed over the cathode 120 and a portion of the link 124 to protect those areas from becoming doped. The first mask 126 is preferably a photoresist material or other polymer that is commonly used in the art. The first mask 126 may be removed after performing the n-type doping.
Referring now to
A schematic equivalent to the fuse, prior to programming, formed by the process discussed above is shown in
To blow the fuse, a reverse bias is applied to the p-n junction diode 610. Because the p-n junction diode 610 restricts current from flowing through the polysilicon, the current is restricted to flowing through the resistor 612, i.e., the silicide layer 132 of
The plurality of links 214 provide redundant links in the event one or more links are faulty due to process variations. For example, variations in the silicide process may cause the silicide layer on the links to be incomplete, possibly creating a high resistance. In this situation, some of the links may appear to be blown prior to programming. By having multiple links 214, one or more faulty links will not cause the fuse to appear blown if there are good links remaining.
Programming of the multi-link electrical fuse may be performed in the same manner as the single-link electrical fuse. After programming, the silicide layers over the p-n junctions are depleted, thereby creating a high resistance between the cathode 210 and anode 212.
In yet another embodiment illustrated in
Yet another embodiment is illustrated in
Although the present invention and its advantages have been described in detail, it should be understood that various changes, substitutions, and alterations can be made herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims. For example, the materials and processes used to form the electrical fuses disclosed herein may be altered, as well as the shapes and configurations.
Moreover, the scope of the present application is not intended to be limited to the particular embodiments of the process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, means, methods and steps described in the specification. As one of ordinary skill in the art will readily appreciate from the disclosure of the present invention, processes, machines, manufacture, compositions of matter, means, methods, or steps, presently existing or later to be developed, that perform substantially the same function or achieve substantially the same result as the corresponding embodiments described herein may be utilized according to the present invention. Accordingly, the appended claims are intended to include within their scope such processes, machines, manufacture, compositions of matter, means, methods, or steps.