With manufacturers now capable of creating transistors in the 5-7 nm node range, the ability to isolate, inspect, and probe individual metal and via layers is of the utmost importance for defect inspection and design validation. These isolated layers can be inspected for defects via SEM, provide design validation, or tested with electrical probing for failure analysis. The work herein describes a functional workflow that enables manufacturers to perform this kind of sample preparation in an automated fashion using plasma focused ion beam (FIB) technology. The workflow is scalable and can be used in both lab and fabrication environments.

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