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Browse Prior Art Database

Cross Section Preparation for SEM Using Ion Milling

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000103227D
Original Publication Date: 1990-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-17
Document File: 1 page(s) / 44K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Joseph, TW: AUTHOR

Abstract

Ion milling for the final preparation step of semiconductor chip and package cross sections prevents many artifacts and damage which can be introduced by other preparation techniques (such as mechanical polishing or chemical etching). Scanning electron microscopy and x-ray microanalysis results are much more easily interpreted than when preparation artifacts exist.

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Cross Section Preparation for SEM Using Ion Milling

      Ion milling for the final preparation step of semiconductor
chip and package cross sections prevents many artifacts and damage
which can be introduced by other preparation techniques (such as
mechanical polishing or chemical etching).  Scanning electron
microscopy and x-ray microanalysis results are much more easily
interpreted than when preparation artifacts exist.

      No mechanical damage (scratching, smearing, fracturing) is
introduced by the ion beam, thus fragile layers remain intact, soft
materials are not smeared, and thin cracks or voids are not obscured
by polishing debris.  Since ion milling is a dry non- chemical
process the likelihood of undesired chemical attack or introducing
contaminants is minimal.  Fragile unsupported material such as
corrosion products or thin films with voids will not be subject to
mechanical stress and so will remain intact for SEM examination or
x-ray analysis.

      Samples are polished by standard mechanical unencapsulated
methods including the final fine polish to within 1.0 to 0.5
micrometers of the area of interest.  The sample is then placed in
the ion mill and alternately bombarded and then examined until the
area of interest is reached.  SEM examination or x-ray analysis can
then follow.

      Any of the above artifacts or preparation induced damage could
make a manufacturing process problem or a reliability failure
impossible to identify.  Samp...