Thin film anomalies cause many device failures but they are often difficult to see. In this article, the authors explain how they found and identified an 8 to 10 nm film of tantalum causing pin shorts in a majority of ASIC modules from a particular lot. Initial attempts to delayer some of the failed modules resulted in the loss of the failure signal. It was then decided to use a focused ion beam to selectively mill through the interlayer dielectric. During milling, a secondary electron image revealed anomalous material between the fingers of a power transistor, which was subsequently identified as tantalum. Such defects, as the authors explain, are common in damascene processes when materials are not properly removed during etching.
This content is only available as a PDF.
Copyright © ASM International® 2009