Semiconductor Failure Analysis (FA) is the process of determining how or why a semiconductor device has failed. Semiconductor components/devices are ubiquitous within our daily lives. Understanding the cause of failures of these devices at the earliest stage of the production pipeline is key to keeping costs down and efficiencies up.

A range of different techniques have been developed to assess these failures. Recent developments in this regime have exploited the use of laser scanning near infrared microscopy for the purposes of through-silicon fault localisation and defect characterisation.

Dynamic laser stimulation covers an extensive range of microelectronic device probing configurations and technologies for advanced CMOS integrated circuit failure analysis. Traditionally cw 1064 nm or 1340 nm laser sources have been utilised to carry out laser-induced photo-electric or photo-thermal functional tests.

Examples of such analytical optoelectronic probing platforms include soft defect localisation and laser assisted device localisation (LADA). These advanced modalities function by enticing operationally sensitive transistors to advance or delay their switching characteristics as part of a pre-determined pass/fail process. There is an inability to temporally profile functional devices (thus providing uncertainty in the root cause silicon data set).

Consequently, several within the semiconductor failure analysis community have begun to develop custom pulsed laser-based application driven, laser probing techniques for the interrogation of nanoscale flip chip architectures.

Due to this interest, Chromacity has developed the Spark X. The system provides ultrashort pulses between 1250 nm – 1310 nm (depending on application).

To-date these systems have been used as part of solid immersion lens-enhanced two-photon absorption-induced single–event upsets (SEU) monitored and assessed by way of an electrical LADA-based tester stimulus.

Femtosecond near infrared radiation can deliver significant levels of peak optical power to a functional device which, in turn can temporarily disturb the prescribed digitisation level in local memory cells, holding their individual transistors in artificially high electronic states until the operational sequence is reiterated.

The Spark X will allow the FA community to implement ultrafast nonlinear optoelectronic probing platforms for the purpose of advanced IC debug and characterisation with the best localised volumetric resolution performance. In addition to the impressive spatial performance of both 2pLADA and 2pSEU, the temporal performance of this technique offers the significant ability to characterise failures which has yet to be fully discovered.

Wafer Testing Equipment
Macs of Silicon Wafers