Soft Defect Localization (SDL) is an analysis technique where changes in the pass/fail condition of a test are monitored while a laser is scanned across a die.[1,2,3,4] The technique has proven its usefulness for quickly locating failing nodes for functional fails that are temperature, frequency, and/or voltage dependant. The localized heating from the laser can toggle the pass/fail condition as it sweeps over failing nodes with the aforementioned sensitivity. The technique is instrumental in identifying latent defect locations on conditional fails even though they seldom produce light emissions or liquid crystal hot spots. These fails often manifest themselves after reliability stress or at the customer. The technique can also be applied to support design groups with first silicon analysis of timing race conditions and identification of signals that are speed path limiters. The main challenges associated with the technique are in synchronizing the tester with the Laser Scanning Module (LSM) and ensuring the laser can heat the device enough to overcome the pass/fail threshold temperature of the failing node.

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