Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is now commonly employed in semiconductor device quality control and failure analysis. Precision cross-section specimens (PXTEM) are often required - these are samples that isolate an extremely small volume such as a single failed transistor. PXTEM samples are among the most difficult TEM samples to prepare. It is important for laboratories that perform PXTEM to master a variety of techniques so that the issues of cost, quality, and risk can be properly balanced. This paper addresses these issues while explaining the most common methods of PXTEM preparation along with an illustrative case study.

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