Application of a formal Failure Analysis metaprocess to a stubborn yield loss problem provided a framework that ultimately facilitated a solution. Absence of results from conventional failure analysis techniques such as PEM (Photon Emission Microscopy) and liquid crystal microthermography frustrated early attempts to analyze this low-level supply leakage failure mode. Subsequently, a reorganized analysis team attacked the problem using a specific toplevel metaprocess.(1,a) Using the metaprocess, analysts generated a specific unique step-by-step analysis process in real time. Along the way, this approach encouraged the creative identification of secondary failure effects that provided repeated breakthroughs in the analysis flow. Analysis proceeded steadily toward the failure cause in spite of its character as a three-way interaction among factors in the IC design, mask generation, and wafer manufacturing processes. The metaprocess also provided the formal structure that, at the conclusion of the analysis, permitted a one-sheet summary of the failure's cause-effect relationships and the analysis flow leading to discovery of the anomaly. As with every application of this metaprocess, the resulting analysis flow simply represented an effective version of good failure analysis. The formal and flexible codification of the analysis decision-making process, however, provided several specific benefits, not least of which was the ability to proceed with high confidence that the problem could and would be solved. This paper describes the application of the metaprocess, and also the key measurements and causeeffect relationships in the analysis.

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