Physical failure analysis (FA) of integrated circuit devices that fail electrical test is an important part of the yield improvement process. This article describes how the analysis of existing data from arrayed devices can be used to replace physical FA of some electrical test failures, and increase the value of physical FA results. The discussion is limited to pre-repair results. The key is to use classified bitmaps and determine which signature classification correlates to which type of in-line defect. Using this technique, physical failure mechanisms can be determined for large numbers of failures on a scale that would be unfeasible with de-processing and physical FA. If the bitmaps are classified, two-way correlation can be performed: in-line defect to bitmap failure, as well as bitmap signature to in-line defect. Results also demonstrate the value of analyzing memory devices failures, even those that can be repaired, to gain understanding of defect mechanisms.

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