The presence of copper layers separated by low-k dielectrics in today’s ICs is a major problem for circuit edit engineers. This article explains why and presents a solution that addresses the challenges CE engineers face. According to the authors, the difficulties are primarily due to the interaction of the ion beam with variations in copper grain orientation, the effects of halogen corrosion, and the presence of CuF. As a result, copper milling tends to be uneven and edit times tend to be quite long. The solution presented is based on a chemically-assisted milling and etching process that quickly and uniformly removes copper and dielectric layers while maintaining planarity.

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