Focused Ion Beam (FIB) tools are widely used for Integrated Circuit (IC) debug and repair. With the increasing density of recent semiconductor devices, FIB operations are increasingly challenged, requiring access through 4 or more metal layers to reach a metal line of interest. In some cases, accessibility from the front side, through these metal layers, is so limited that backside FIB operations appear to be the most appropriate approach. The questions to be resolved before starting frontside or backside FIB operations on a device are: 1. Is it do-able, are the metal lines accessible? 2. What is the optimal positioning (e.g. accessing a metal 2 line is much faster and easier than digging down to a metal 6 line)? (for the backside) 3. What risk, time and cost are involved in FIB operations? In this paper, we will present a new approach, which allows the FIB user or designer to calculate the optimal FIB operation for debug and IC repair. It automatically selects the fastest and easiest milling and deposition FIB operations.

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