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The trends within the electronic industry toward decreasing device dimension and increasing integrated circuit device density are driving developments in analytical technology. The lateral resolution and sensitivity of present generation analytical equipment are challenged by device feature dimensions. In addition, acceptable contamination levels are decreasing. Some of the analysis methods facing this challenge are total reflection x‐ray fluorescence, ellipsometry, Auger microprobe, and secondary‐ion‐mass spectrometry. Networked analytical systems are presently used to improve cycle time for analysis. This type of system allows a focused ion beam tool or a scanning electron microscope to quickly move to previously located electrically active defect. The focus of this presentation will be on the challenges facing materials characterization and failure analysis methods. The discussion will include the effect of networked analytical systems on both problem solving methodology and the potential role of new characterization methods such as heavy‐ion backscattering spectrometry and post‐ionization of sputtered neutrals.