This paper describes a new gate oxide (Gox) inspection method that uses nanoprobing and capacitive-atomic force microscopy (C-AFM) along with optimized etch chemistries and polishing techniques. It presents several examples showing how the new method outperforms conventional Gox inspection approaches in its ability to locate defects such as oxide pin holes and impurities that cause leakage current. It also discusses the electrical behavior of pin holes and soft defects.

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