Laser Voltage Probing (LVP) is an essential Failure Analysis (FA) technique that has been widely adopted by the industry. Waveforms that are collected allow for the analyst to understand various internal failure modes related to timing or abnormal circuit behavior. As technology nodes shrink to the point where multiple transistors reside within the diffraction-limited laser spot size, interpretation of the waveforms can become extremely difficult. In this paper we discuss some of the evolving challenges faced by LVP and propose a new technique known as Differential LVP (dLVP) that can be used to debug marginal failing devices that exhibit a pass/fail boundary in their shmoo plot. We demonstrate how separate pass and fail LVP waveforms can be collected simultaneously and compared to immediately identify whether logic is corrupted and when the corruption occurs. The benefits of this new technique are many. They include guarantees of equivalent pass vs. fail data independent of crosstalk, system noise, stage drift, probe placement, temperature effects, or the diffraction-limited resolution of the probe system. Implementing dLVP into existing tools could extend their effective lifetimes and improve their efficacy related to the demands posed by the debug of 5nm technologies and smaller geometries. We anticipate that fully integrated and evolved dLVP will complement workhorse FA applications such as Laser Assisted Device Alteration (LADA) and Soft Defect Localization (SDL) analysis. Wherein those techniques map timing marginalities propagating to, and observed by, a capture flop, dLVP can extend such capabilities by identifying the first instance of corrupted logic inside the flop and map the corruption all the way to the chip output pin.

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