Several product lots were found to suffer from data retention failures in OTP (one time program) devices. PFA (physical failure analysis) was performed on these devices, but nothing abnormal was observed. Cross-sectional TEM (transmission electron microscopy) revealed no physical defects or abnormal CDs (critical dimensions). In order to isolate the failed layer or location, electrical analysis was conducted. Several electrical simulation experiments, designed to test the data retention properties of OTP devices, were preformed. Meilke's method [1] was also used to differentiate between mobile ion contamination and charge trap centers. Besides Meilke's method, a new electrical analysis method was used to verify the analysis results. The results of our analysis suggests that SiN charge trap centers are the root cause for the data retention failures, and the ratio of Si/N is the key to charge trap center formation. Auger analysis was used to physically check the Si/N ratio of OTP devices. The results support our hypothesis. Subsequent DOE (Design Of Experiment) experiments also confirm our analysis results. Key Words: OTP, data retention, Non-visible defect, AFP, charge trap center, mobile ion.

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