This article provides an analysis of a class of failures observed during the SEMATECH-sponsored Test Methods Experiment. The analysis focuses on use of test-based failure analysis and IDDQ signature analysis to gain insight into the physical mechanisms underlying such subtle failures. In doing so, the analysis highlights techniques for understanding failure mechanisms using only tester data. In the experiment, multiple test methods were applied to a 0.45 micrometer effective channel length ASIC. Specifically, ICs that change test behavior from before to after burn-in are studied to understand the physical nature of the mechanism underlying their failure. Examples of the insights provided by the test-based analysis include identifying cases where there are multiple or complex defects and distinguishing cases where the defect type is likely to be a short versus an open and determining if the defect is marginal. These insights can be helpful for successful failure analysis.

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