Conventional backside imaging takes advantage of silicon’s transmission of light which, based on the Plank relation (Eg = hc/λ), occurs at wavelengths greater than 1 µm. Because of diffraction, the lateral spatial resolution of backside imaging techniques is limited to about half the wavelength of the light source used, which is far too coarse to isolate faults in a typical IC. In this article, the authors explain how they overcome this limitation by reprofiling the backside of the silicon, forming spherically shaped domes. The raised convex surfaces act as solid immersion lenses that are shown to improve spatial resolution by nearly an order of magnitude. The degree of improvement is evaluated using backside emission microscopy (EMS), optical beam induced current (OBIC) imaging, and laser voltage probing (LVP) and the results are presented in the article.

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