Scanning Electron Microscopy


In examining emitter-collector shorts and their relationship to structural defects, we desire a nondestructive method for locating the short-circuited devices in large test arrays. Voltage contrast scanning electron microscopy (VC-SEM) and an established electrochemical anodization technique have been used to identify electrically faulty bipolar transistors. Direct comparison of these approaches was achieved by examining the same emitters with each method. The results indicate that VC-SEM may serve as a useful technique for delineating E-C shorts because of its nondestructive and purely electrical nature. In our qualitative investigation, the sensitivity and voltage resolution available by VC-SEM were not sufficient to differentiate device leakage levels as is often possible with anodization. Such information may, however, be obtainable by utilizing image subtraction and more sophisticated detector systems. Transmission electron microscopy of the transistor structures revealed dislocations in many short-circuited emitters and occasionally in unshorted devices. This confirmed prior observations that crystallographic defects in silicon devices may sometimes be, but are not always, electrically active. Deleterious effects may depend on factors such as junction penetration and dopant-defect interactions.

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