As device dimensions continue to shrink, process defects tend to become more subtle. For most failure analysis (FA) studies, it is important to identify the defect location for the subsequent material analysis. To achieve this, nano-probing has been widely used in the FA community. Copper (Cu) contacts posed a significant challenge to nano-probing since Cu is soft and tends to deform during measurements. In addition, Cu oxidizes quickly in air, increasing contact resistance significantly between the probes and devices. This paper introduces electroless cobalt (Co) plating on Cu contacts for nano-probing to overcome these technical problems. As Cu is soft and oxidized quickly in air, the technique presented in this paper provides a technical solution for nano-probing on Cu contacts. With carefully characterized Co plating time, this technique can be used not only on Cu contacts but also on Cu interconnection.

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