Failure Analysis (FA) Techniques

 

Failure Analysis Techniques, or simply FA Techniques, are the individual analytical steps performed to complete the failure analysis process. Each FA technique in the FA process is designed to provide its own, specialized information that will contribute to the determination of the failure mechanism of the sample. Although FA techniques are generally independent of each other, their results must nonetheless be consistent and corroborative in order to arrive at a strong conclusion for the FA cycle. 

                

During the FA process, all applicable non-destructive FA techniques must be performed prior to the conduct of any destructive FA technique.  An FA technique that alters a sample permanently in whatever way (whether visual, mechanical, chemical, or electrical) is considered destructive. On the other hand, non-destructive techniques are those which do not cause any permanent change in the sample, ideally speaking. Table 1 shows links to FA techniques commonly used in the semiconductor industry.

                

Table 1. Semiconductor FA Techniques

Non-destructive Techniques

Technique

Application

Failure Verification

validation of reported failure

Optical Microscopy

external or internal visual inspection

X-ray Radiography

internal x-ray imaging

Curve Tracing

current-voltage characterization

Hermeticity Testing

check for hermetic sealing

SAM

detection of delaminations

Destructive Techniques

Technique

Application

Decapsulation

opening of the IC package

Sectioning

cross-sectioning of the sample

Hot Spot Detection

detection of heat-generating defects

LEM

detection of light-emitting defects

Microprobing

direct electrical analysis of the die circuit

SEM/TEM

high magnification real-time imaging

EDX/WDX

elemental analysis

Focused Ion Beam

high resolution die sectioning/imaging

FTIR Spectroscopy

chemical analysis

Auger Analysis

surface analysis

SIMS

compositional analysis

LIMS

compositional analysis

ESCA or XPS

surface analysis

AFM / STM

high-resolution probe imaging

EBIC

induced current imaging of defects

OBIC

induced current imaging of defects

Chromatography

chemical analysis

RGA

residual gas/moisture analysis

  

Note that some non-destructive techniques can become destructive if improperly performed on the sample.  Examples of these are curve tracing and bench testing, which can lead to electrical overstressing of the sample if improperly undertaken.

  

FA Techniques:  Failure Verification;  Optical InspectionX-ray RadiographyCurve TracingHermeticity Testing;

Decapsulation;  SectioningHot Spot DetectionLEMMicroprobingDie DelayeringSEM / TEMEDX / WDX;

SAMFocused Ion BeamFTIR SpectroscopyAuger AnalysisSIMS / LIMSESCA or XPSAFM / STM

EBIC / OBICChromatographyRGAOther FA Techniques

      

See Also:  Failure AnalysisFA Lab EquipmentBasic FA Flows Package FailuresDie Failures

    

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