Subsurface optical microscopy of semiconductor integrated circuits
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The semiconductor industry continues to scale integrated circuits (ICs) in accordance with Moore's Law, and is currently developing the processing infrastructure at the 14nm technology node and smaller. In the wake of such rapid progress, a number of challenges have arisen for the optical failure analysis methods to meet the requirements of the advancing process technology. Most notably, complex circuits with shrinking critical dimensions will demand higher resolution signal localization currently beyond the capability of the existing optical techniques. This dissertation aims to develop novel optical systems to address the challenges of non-destructive circuit diagnostics at the 14nm technology node and beyond. Backside imaging through the silicon substrate has become an industry standard due to the dense multi-level metal wiring and the packaging requirements. The solid immersion lens is a plano-convex lens placed on the planar silicon substrate to enhance the subsurface focusing and collection of light in back-side imaging of ICs. The silicon and gallium-arsenide aplanatic solid immersion lenses (aSILs) were investigated in detail for the subsurface laser-scanning, voltage modulation, photon emission and dark-field IC imaging applications. Wave-front sensing and shaping techniques were developed to evaluate and mitigate optical aberrations originating from practical issues. Furthermore, the method of pupil function tailoring was explored for sub-diffraction spatial resolution. Super-resolving annular phase and amplitude pupil masks were developed and experimentally implemented. A record-breaking light confinement of 0.02 λ2 0(λ 0 refers to the free-space wavelength) was demonstrated using the vortex beams. The beam invasiveness is a critical issue in the optical circuit probing as the localized heat due to the absorption of the focused beams may unwittingly interfere with the circuit operation in the course of a measurement. A dual-phase interferometry assisted circuit probing was developed to enhance the signal extraction sensitivity by as much as an order of magnitude. Thus, the power requirement of the probe beam is significantly reduced to avert the consequences of the beam invasiveness. The optical systems and methods developed in this dissertation were successfully demonstrated using a number of modern ICs including devices of 14nm, 22nm, 28nm and 32nm technology nodes.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University