Cross-sectional polishing has been widely used in the semiconductor industry. As demand for higher throughput increases, the time spent manually performing a final polish is an improper method for cross-section preparation. Etching is the major function of Precise Etching and Coating System (PECS). In this article, the focus is on Ar plasma cleaning performance on a sample after rough polishing and a sample after a short time final polishing using PECS. To evaluate performance of Ar plasma cleaning, two samples were prepared for SEM observation. X-SEM images before and after Ar plasma cleaning revealed that Ar plasma cleaning is not an effective method to correct micro scratches. The combination of final polishing and stain into one step was found to improve sample quality and throughput. PECS Ar plasma was found to be an effective sample cleaning method when compared to the time spent on final polishing.

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