The combination of microcleaving and precision broad ion beam techniques allows failure analysts to prepare site-specific specimens for SEM analysis with 0.5 μm accuracy. Microcleaving, as the article explains, uses the cleaving characteristics inherent in single-crystal semiconductor substrates. Because the substrate has significantly more mass than the process layers, it dictates the overall cross-section quality and precision of the sample. The cleave loses no material, preserves the integrity of the designated area, and enables analysis of both sides of the cross-section. When the cleave is off-set due to a buried target or when debris lies on the surface of the cross-section, ion beam etching and coating are used to fine tune the cleave location and remove debris prior to SEM analysis.

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