Both the increased complexity of integrated circuits, resulting in six or more levels of integration, and the increasing use of flip-chip packaging have driven the development of integrated circuit (IC) failure analysis tools that can be applied to the backside of the chip. Among these new approaches are focused ion beam (FIB) tools and processes for performing chip edits/repairs from the die backside. This paper describes the use of backside FIB for a failure analysis application rather than for chip repair. Specifically, we used FIB technology to prepare an IC for inspection of voided metal interconnects (“lines”) and vias. Conventional FIB milling was combined with a superenhanced gas assisted milling process that uses XeF2 for rapid removal of large volumes of bulk silicon. This combined approach allowed removal of the TiW underlayer from a large number of M1 lines simultaneously, enabling rapid localization and plan view imaging of voids in lines and vias with backscattered electron (BSE) imaging in a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Sequential cross sections of individual voided vias enabled us to develop a 3-d reconstruction of these voids. This information clarified how the voids were formed, helping us identify the IC process steps that needed to be changed.

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