With further miniaturization of MOS devices, the thickness of gate oxides becomes thinner and thus more sensitive to damage. Emission microscopy has shown its capability in analysis of these failures. However, emission site is not always the exact location of the physical defect. High-density devices with multi-metal layers make the situation worse. But when it is combined with Passive Voltage Contrast (PVC) technique, the success rate of isolating such failures can be greatly increased. In a case study, a unit of 1M bits Static Random Access Memory (SRAM), fabricated by 0.25 µm technology with 5 metal layers, failed after 500 hours burn-in. We successfully isolated the leaky poly and subsequently found gate oxide pinholes with the combination of PVC technique and emission analysis.

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