Gate oxide breakdown has always been a critical reliability issue in Complementary Metal-Oxide-Silicon (CMOS) devices. Pinhole analysis is one of the commonly use failure analysis (FA) technique to analysis Gate oxide breakdown issue. However, in order to have a better understanding of the root cause and mechanism, a defect physically without any damaged or chemical attacked is required by the customer and process/module departments. In other words, it is crucial to have Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) analysis at the exact Gate oxide breakdown point. This is because TEM analysis provides details of physical evidence and insights to the root cause of the gate oxide failures. It is challenging to locate the site for TEM analysis in cases when poly gate layout is of a complex structure rather than a single line. In this paper, we developed and demonstrated the use of cross-sectional Scanning Electron Microscope (XSEM) passive voltage contrast (PVC) to isolate the defective leaky Polysilicon (PC) Gate and subsequently prepared TEM lamella in a perpendicular direction from the post-XSEM PVC sample. This technique provides an alternative approach to identify defective leaky polysilicon Gate for subsequent TEM analysis.

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