The modern scanning transmission electron microscope (S/TEM) has become a key technology and is heavily utilized in advanced failure analysis (FA) labs. It is well equipped to analyze semiconductor device failures, even for the latest process technology nodes (20nm or less). However, the typical sample preparation process flow utilizes a dual beam focused ion beam (FIB) microscope for sample preparation, with the final sample end-pointing monitored using the scanning electron microscope (SEM) column. At the latest technology nodes, defect sizes can be on the order of the resolution limit for the SEM column. Passive voltage contrast (PVC) is an established FA technique for integrated circuit (IC) FA which can compensate for this resolution deficiency in some cases. In this paper, PVC is applied to end-pointing cross-sectional S/TEM samples on the structure or defect of interest to address the SEM resolution limitation.

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