Electron microscopy
Failure Analysis of IC Devices
- 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.


Failure analysis of IC (integrated circuit) chips is critical not only for trouble-shooting and problem-solving, but also for assurance of on-time delivery of products to market. In general, failure analysis includes electrical failure analysis (EFA) and physical failure analysis (PFA). The defects in IC devices and the related failure analysis can be very complicated and be categorized as listed in a table on page3291.

Some types of defects can be identified by in-line metrology, while more cannot due to scaling. Therefore, failure analysis after full fabrication process becomes more important. In many cases, the passivation and metal overlayers have to be polished off for localization and identification of the failure sites. This polishing process is so-called de-processing. Furthermore, this analysis can be very time-consuming because, especially in most cases, the analyst does not have adequate defect-coordinate. In such failure analysis, the analyst needs a wafer map and the layout of the chip, as well as the results of electrical measurements. As an example, Figure 3296 shows schematic illustration of failure analysis of memories.

Schematic illustration of failure analysis of memories

Figure 3296. Schematic illustration of failure analysis of memories.




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