The limitation of Focused Ion Beam (FIB) and all charged beam technologies are their insensitivity to the internal composition of materials relative to surface composition. For the most part, charged particle technology cannot provide the resolution at a depth necessary for locating traces either buried under passivation or through silicon. Before CMP planarization was utilized in the industry, it was possible to correlate passivation topography with buried metal traces and manually navigate to the correct x-y coordinates necessary for edit placement. There was still a level of difficulty and CAD navigation helped immensely. With the advent of CMP-planarized metallization, CAD navigation became a necessity, yet still required passivation topography for precise alignment. Current manufacturing processes now planarize all layers, including the passivation, increasing the overall difficulty of navigation. Techniques of drilling “seeker” holes or surface demarcation using FIB and lasers to establish reference fiducials are used extensively [1,2]. Seeker holes and optical-to-FIB image correlation have been useful workarounds for the navigation-related problems presented by advanced ICs. In this paper we will discuss the advantages of Real-Time Optical Imaging coaxially integrated into the FIB, providing non-invasive navigation to nodes for front side and backside applications.

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