Determination of metal bridging failures on plastic encapsulated devices is difficult due to the metal etching effects that occur while removing many of the plastic mold compounds. Typically, the acids used to remove the encapsulation are corrosive to the metals that are found within the device. Thus, decapsulation can result in removal of the failure mechanism. Mechanical techniques are often not successful due to damage that results in destruction of the die and failure mechanism. This paper discusses a novel approach to these types of failures using a silicon etch and a backside evaluation. The desirable characteristics of the technique would be to remove the silicon and leave typical device metals unaffected. It would also be preferable that the device passivation and oxides not be etched so that the failure location is not disturbed. The use of Tetramethylammonium Hydroxide (TMAH), was found to fit these prerequisites. The technique was tested on clip attached Schottky diodes that exhibited resistive shorting. The use of the TMAH technique was successful at exposing thin solder bridges that extruded over the edge of the die resulting in failure.

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