Abstract

With the rapid development of semiconductor manufacturing technologies, IC devices evolve to smaller feature sizes and higher densities, and thus the task of performing successful failure analysis (FA) is becoming increasingly difficult. Device miniaturization often requires high spatial resolution fault isolation and physical analysis [1]. To cater to the shrinking of devices, extensive process improvements have been conducted at the front-end-of-line (FEOL) structures. As a result, among the numerous types of defects leading to chip failure, FEOL defects are becoming more common for devices of advanced tech nodes [2]. Therefore, it becomes more complexity and difficulty on searching the physical defect. Sample preparation is a key activity in material and failure analysis. In order to image small structures or defects it is often necessary to remove excess material or layers hiding the feature of interest. Removing selected layers to isolate a structure is called delayering. It can be accomplished by chemical etching using liquid or plasma chemistry, or by mechanical means, by polishing off each unwanted layer.

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