Abstract

This paper illustrates a yield enhancement effort on a Digital Signal Processor (DSP) where random columns in the Static Random Access Memory (SRAM) were found to be failing. In this SRAM circuit, sense amps are designed with a two-stage separation and latch sequence. In the failing devices the bit line and bit_bar line were not separated far enough in voltage before latching got triggered. The design team determined that the sense amp was being turned on too quickly. The final conclusion was that a marginal sense amp design, combined with process deviations, would result in this type of failure. The possible process issues were narrowed to variations of via resistances on the bit and bit_bar lines. Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) inspection of the the Focused Ion Beam (FIB) cross sections followed by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) showed the presence of contaminants at the bottom of the vias causing resistance variations.

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