As submicron devices continue to shrink, causing increased aspect ratios, gap filling in intermetal dielectric (IMD) becomes more difficult. At the time, global planarization becomes essential to meet the depth of focus budget for photolithography. The paper compares different techniques: Plasma Enhanced-CVD (PECVD) TEOS dep-etch-dep, CVD ozone-TEOS (both subatmospheric and atmospheric), FlowfillTM (a novel CVD process that uses a silane and hydrogen peroxide chemistry). Gap filling, planarity (local and global) and device performance comparisons are presented. It is concluded that use of the FlowfillTM, as part of a layer called 'Advanced Planarization Layer' (APL), will save costly planarization steps, while maintaining sort yield and device performance.© (1995) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.