Modern electronic systems rely on components with nanometer-scale feature sizes in which failure can be initiated by atomic-scale electronic defects. These defects can precipitate dramatic structural changes at much larger length scales, entirely obscuring the origin of such an event. The transmission electron microscope (TEM) is among the few imaging systems for which atomic-resolution imaging is easily accessible, making it a workhorse tool for performing failure analysis on nanoscale systems. When equipped with spectroscopic attachments TEM excels at determining a sample’s structure and composition, but the physical manifestation of defects can often be extremely subtle compared to their effect on electronic structure. Scanning TEM electron beam-induced current (STEM EBIC) imaging generates contrast directly related to electronic structure as a complement the physical information provided by standard TEM techniques. Recent STEM EBIC advances have enabled access to a variety of new types of electronic and thermal contrast at high resolution, including conductivity mapping. Here we discuss the STEM EBIC conductivity contrast mechanism and demonstrate its ability to map electronic transport in both failed and pristine devices.

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