Soft Defect Localization (SDL) is a dynamic laser-based failure analysis technique that can detect circuit upsets (or cause a malfunctioning circuit to recover) by generation of localized heat or photons from a rastered laser beam. SDL is the third and seldom used method on the LSM tool. Most failure analysis LSM sessions use the endo-thermic mode (TIVA, XIVA, OBIRCH), followed by the photo-injection mode (LIVA) to isolate most of their failures. SDL is seldom used or attempted, unless there is a unique and obvious failure mode that can benefit from the application. Many failure analysts, with a creative approach to the analysis, can employ SDL. They will benefit by rapidly finding the location of the failure mechanism and forgoing weeks of nodal probing and isolation. This paper will cover circuit signal conditioning to allow for fast dynamic failure isolation using an LSM for laser stimulation. Discussions of several cases will demonstrate how the laser can be employed for triggering across a pass/fail boundary as defined by voltage levels, supply currents, signal frequency, or digital flags. A technique for manual input of the LSM trigger is also discussed.

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