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Cross-sectioning is a technique used for process development and reverse engineering. This article introduces novice analysts to the methods of cross-sectioning semiconductor devices and provides a refresher for the more experienced analysts. Topics covered include encapsulated (potted) device sectioning techniques, non-encapsulated device techniques, utilization of the focused ion beam (FIB) making a cross-section and/or enhancing a physically polished one. Delineation methods for revealing structures are also discussed. These can be chemical etchants, chemo-mechanical polishing, and ion milling, either in the FIB or in a dedicated ion mill.

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Becky Holdford, Cross-Sectioning: Mechanical Polishing, Ion Milling, and Focused Ion Beam (FIB), Microelectronics Failure Analysis: Desk Reference, 7th ed., Edited By Tejinder Gandhi, ASM International, 2019, p 391–401,

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