Modern day VLSI Semiconductor devices are manufactured using a chemical mechanical polish (CMP) process. The resultant layers are planar with respect to one another and should be easy to remove. All that needs to be done is to lap the layer until the region of interest is exposed. In practice this has been difficult. This article describes the combination of processes that are required to take full advantage of the strength of deprocessing techniques (lapping, plasma and gel controlled wet chemical deprocessing) to deliver a perfectly planar sample for inspection. A discussion on the thought process required to adequately select the proper chemicals for the gel controlled etch is given. Finally, a typical deprocessing flow is described. It is concluded that this combined solution enables planarity to be maintained across 100% of the device surface. There is less chance the failure site is damaged by the deprocessing.

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