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Strategies to identify physical origins of contrast in EBIRCH

The Electron Beam Induced Resistance Change (EBIRCh) is an increasingly popular Electrical Failure Analysis (EFA) technique for defect localization in dielectrics. It highlights the precise location of leakage on defective gates. The spatial resolution of EBIRCh is sufficient for a TEM lamella to be prepared for further physical failure analysis. EBIRCh is very straightforward to implement, however, we do not completely understand the fundamental origin of its signal.

We published an application note that is based on our recent paper [1], where we discuss the contrast generated by EBIRCh and how to separate it from other phenomena and gain a better understanding of this technique.

Thermal stage helped to investigate the signal evolution at elevated temperature (150°C) and if it was reversible upon returning to the room temperature.

Based on how EBIRCh signal behaves at different biases and acceleration voltages, we suggest good practices for EBIRCh data interpretation. For example, it must be based on a range of bias voltages to avoid the risk of analyzing the features that originate from other sources, such as induced currents at junction sites. Localization images acquired at zero bias help to distinguish resistance-related currents from induced and absorbed currents. Heating provides additional insights into the physical origin of contrast.

[1] Grigore Moldovan, William Courbat, Strategies to Identify Physical Origin of Contrast in EBIRCH, Conference Proceedings from the 48th International Symposium for Testing and Failure Analysis, 2022, pp. 277-283

For more detailed information read the application note here.

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