Atomic force microscopy (AFM) methods have provided a wealth of knowledge into the topographic, electrical, mechanical, magnetic, and electrochemical properties of surfaces and materials at the micro- and nanoscale over the last several decades. More specifically, the application of conductive AFM (CAFM) techniques for failure analysis can provide a simultaneous view of the conductivity and topographic properties of the patterned features. As CMOS technology progresses to smaller and smaller devices, the benefits of CAFM techniques have become apparent [1-3]. Herein, we review several cases in which CAFM has been utilized as a fault-isolation technique to detect middle of line (MOL) and front end of line (FEOL) buried defects in 20nm technologies and beyond.

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