The size of devices on state-of-the-art integrated circuits continues to decrease with each technology node, which drives the need to continually improve the resolution of electrical failure analysis techniques. Solid immersion lenses are commonly used in combination with infrared light to perform analysis from the backside of the device, but typically only have resolutions down to ~200 nm. Improving resolution beyond this requires the use of shorter wavelengths, which in turn requires a silicon thickness in the 2 to 5 µm range. Current ultra-thinning techniques allow consistent thinning to ~10 µm. Thinning beyond this, however, has proven challenging. In this work, we show how broad beam Ar ion milling can be used to locally thin a device’s backside silicon until the remaining silicon thickness is < 5 µm.

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