Electron microscopy
 
Defects in IC Chips and the Related Failure Analysis
- Practical Electron Microscopy and Database -
- An Online Book -
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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.
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The defects in IC devices and the related failure can be very complicated and be categorized as listed in Table 3291.

Table 3291. Categories of defects in IC devices and the related failure.

Failure factor
Failure mechanism
Short
Open
Leakage
Decreased breakdown voltage
Vt or hFE shift
Unstable
operation
Resistance
fluctuation
Missing patterns
Missing layers × ×          
          ×    
  × × ×     × ×
Incomplete etching
  × × ×        
External materials × × × × × × ×
Substrate, diffusion, P-N junction, Isolation
Crystal defect ×   × ×   × ×
Crack   × × × × × ×
Surface contamination     × × × × ×
Junction deterioration ×   × ×      
Impurity precipitation ×   × × ×    
Photoresist mask misalignment × × × ×   ×  
Oxide film, gate oxide film, field oxide film
Mobile ion     × × × ×  
Pinhole     × × ×    
Interface level     × × × ×  
Time dependent dielectric breakdown (TDDB) ×   ×        
Hot carrier     × × ×    
Metallization, on-chip wiring, via, contact, interconnection, contact hole, via hole
Scratch × ×         ×
Void damage × ×         ×
Mechanical damage × ×         ×
Step coverage × ×         ×
Corrosion   × × ×   × ×
Insufficient adhesion strength   ×       × ×
Electromigration × ×         ×
Stress migration   ×         ×
Alloy pitting ×         ×  
Non-Ohmic contact   ×       × ×
Non-uniform or improper
thickness
            ×
Scar × ×          
Al projection due to Al-Si alloy formation ×         ×  
Al shift caused by resin stress   ×         ×
Bridging of W-plugs through W-extrusion [1] ×            
Via × ×          
Passivation, surface protective film, inter-layer dielectric film
Pinhole ×   × × × ×  
Non-uniform thickness (step coverage block) × ×          
Unstable physical film-characteristics       × × × ×
Crack ×   × × × ×  
Contamination     × × × × ×
Reversed surface     × × × × ×

 

In most cases, the feature sizes of failure locations are on the order of a tenth of a micron or larger. However, the scaling of devices can increase their sensitivity of electrical performances to process variation, and thus root causes of failures can be localized to an extremely small size-scale, where only TEM has such spatial resolution.


 

 



[1] Z.G. Song, G. Qian, J.Y. Dai, Z.R. Guo, S.K. Loh, C.S. Teh, S. Redkar, Application of contact-level ion-beam induced passive voltage contrast in failure analysis of static random access memory, in: Proceedings of the Eighth International Symposium on the Physical and Failure Analysis of Integrated Circuits, IPFA, Singapore, 2001, p. 103.

 

 

 

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