This paper explains how tunneling atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to determine the cause of leakage in FinFETs along the boundary of SRAM cells. The leaking devices were electrically isolated using photoemission microscopy, but conventional FA techniques, including SEM and TEM imaging, found no structural abnormalities. Suspecting that the failures may be due to dopant-related issues, the authors obtained cross sections of both good and bad devices and scanned them in a tunneling AFM. The paper describes the sample preparation process and includes cross-sectional images showing the difference between good and bad transistors. In SRAM areas where no leakage occurred, the fins are well defined and evenly spaced. However, in the area where an emission spot was observed, two of the fins appear to be overlapping, the result of n-well implants that merged.

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