Unit level traceability (ULT) is a powerful tool that allows complete die histories to be accessed in the course of testing and analysis. It is especially useful for identifying the likely causes of microprocessor failures and in cases where failure analysis resources are limited. In the article, the author explains how he used ULT in the investigation of a 0.25-µm CMOS processor. Using the ULT of the die, he discovered a failure signature based on die location on the wafer. One root cause of failure was traced to cross-field variation in the lithography process due to marginal focus control. Another failure, observed after burn-in, was traced to the presence of residual titanium left after metal etch.

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