Identification of Soft Failure and Non Visible Defects in ICs
- Practical Electron Microscopy and Database -
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This book (Practical Electron Microscopy and Database) is a reference for TEM and SEM students, operators, engineers, technicians, managers, and researchers.


SEM (scanning electron microscopy)-based nanoprobing technique [1] is frequently used to identify the soft failure and non visible defects. This technique provides the capability of operating probe tips in nanometer range to land exactly on top of the individual source, drain and gate tungsten contact, for instance, as shown in Figure 2823. The SEM provides a high-resolution real-time image that facilitates locating the failing device and placing the probe tips. In this way, the locations of soft failure and non visible defects can become visible during electrical stressing.

Nanoprobing Technique for IC Failure Analysis

Figure 2823. (a) Inverter image, and (b) A SEM image showing three tungsten probes (black arrow) landing on tungsten contacts of the NMOS transistor in the inverter. Adapted from [2]

Once the exact failing transistor was successfully located using the Nanoprobing method, Ravikumar et al. [2] had analyzed this transistor using FIB (Focussed Ion Beam), STEM (Scanning Tunneling Electron Microscopy), and TEM (Transmission Electron Microscopy) sequentially one by one. Unfortunately, no physical defects were found using any of those PFA techniques. Therefore, they proposed that the malfunction of the transistor was probably caused by the quality of the extent of implantation which is not detectable in any of those PFA techniques.





[1] D. Faure, C.A. Waggoner, “A New Sub-micron Probing Technique for Failure Analysis in Integrated Circuits”, ESREF 2002.
[2] Ravikumar V K, Ho M Y, Goruganthu R R, Phoa S L, Narang V, Chin J M, Combining High Resolution Pulsed TIVA and Nanoprobing Techniques to identify Drive Strength issues in Mixed Signal Circuits, 2010 17th IEEE International Symposium on the Physical and Failure Analysis of Integrated Circuits (IPFA). 




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