Evaluation of Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEMs) was initiated for the purpose of purchasing a SEM that would improve the productivity of scanning electron microscopy during the cycle of analysis and deprocessing of semiconductor devices in a failure analysis lab. In addition to the need for high image resolution at low electron acceleration voltages, an accurate motorized stage is a major evaluation factor. It is necessary for the analyst to drive directly to a known location such as a memory cell with a high assurance that the site of interest was found. There are two main areas of focus in this paper. First, our SEM evaluation methodology will be presented along with the results of our evaluation. Second, the technology associated with motorized stages will be discussed in light of our requirements for a motorized, highly accurate stage. As a byproduct of this evaluation, this paper is presented so as to push the SEM industry to offer a SEM with an accurate stage for subhalfmicron products at reasonable cost.

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