FIB techniques have provided a means for the nanometer-scale spatially confined etching and deposition processes required during repair or editing of advanced integrated circuit (IC) prototypes and lithographic masks. Primary sample properties that can lead to limitations on the applicability of FIB for IC repair are the material composition, aspect ratio, and feature packing density. The typical aims when developing a gas-assisted-etch (GAE) process for IC repair applications are enhancement of etch rate, increased volatilization of reaction products, and improved material selectivity. This paper presents results from a novel two-step process for clearing large areas of one micron thick (upper-level metal) layers. Better equalization of etch rates was achieved using the novel developed FIB GAE process. The paper describes the preliminary results obtained using non-gallium-ion beam based approaches for controlled surface modification during the editing of IC repair samples.

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