Tools and Techniques

Services shown here are immediately available and updated regularly

Detailed description of the various techniques and applications we can offer.

For more complex investigations we have access to a large variety of techniques via our partners and networks. We can offer advise about the applicability of the technique you are interested in, or make suggestions for how to achieve the results you need. If you do not see the technique you require, please contact us.

For customers with their own equipment, we also offer operator training on various SEM’s, FIB’s and DualBeams to help ensure you get the best from your operators and toolset.

Non Destructive Analysis of packages.

X-ray imaging of a device provides information about metallic features such as leadframe, die-attach and wiring defects. Even information about the wire bonding integrity can be obtained before decap.

CSAM (Acoustic Microscopy) can provide information about the internal interfaces (and sometimes the stresses and delamination of them) between the device and the package. Additional information might be available about the uniformity of the die-attach compound and even mould voids or die cracks.

When used together these techniques can help you understand the link between the electrical behaviour you see in test and the physical behaviour of the device within its package.

The chemical etching of the lid of a plastic package to permit analysis and modification of the circuit within it. 48hrs advance notice required. We can offer both single and dual-acid techniques with fast turnaround and high success rates. Poly-imide can also be removed if required.

The direct ion beam modification of a fabricated IC for the purposes of correcting faulty functionality or providing access to signal nodes for active electrical debugging.
Instructions for the changes to be made can be provided in several forms including plots, GDSII files, simple co-ordinates and a description of what you would like to have.
Most fixes can be turned around in 1 or 2 days depending on the service selected and returned to you by express courier so the working devices are on your desk the next day.
Complex or stacked faults may require more than 1 iteration to get a fully working device.
NanoScope specialises in difficult modifications on advanced processes, and particularly in the use of new techniques required to successfully work with new and challenging materials (like copper).

For Analogue designers concerned about the resistance of adding new connections, or timing issues for long tracks – we offer ultra-low resistance copper deposition – up to millimetres in length if required. Copper deposition connections have resistances of 1.7 micro-ohms per cm.

The re-packaging of a device after it has been de-capsulated and then FIB modified. NanoScope offers a fast and safe glob-topping service for re-sealing of opened and modified packaged devices to protect them during subsequent testing purposes. We offer several proven resealing materials to match your requirements.

SEM, TEM or FIB imaging of samples with or without mechanical preparation (conductors/insulators). Typical resolutions by technique are :-
– up to 4nm (Ion beam) with high materials contrast imaging
– 1-2nm for SEM depending on vacuum level and kV
– ‘lattice resolution’ for TEM depending on application and material.

SEM based EDS analysis may be done either as a point, line or 2D area. On a bulk sample the spacial resolution may be 1 micron. On a thinned sample the spatial resolution may be 100nm. TEM based EDS analysis may only be performed on a thinned ‘foil’ and may be of the order of 50nm spatial resolution.

The site specific cross sectional analysis of a location.

This could be a :-
– Thin film coating.
– Specific IC structure or failure.
– Particle or feature (like a grain boundary or an inclusion).
– On the surface or buried within the sample.

Cross sections can be placed with lateral accuracies as high as 100nm.

Cross sections through identified failure sites can quickly identify the root cause of a failure and also the process layer at which that failure was introduced.

This can help with customer returns and other induced failures.
We can also directly import defect location data from KLA-Tencor instruments for Defect Review studies.

Site specific cross sections through specific features can permit quality control of semiconductor processes, identification of the causes of yield excursions and routine tracking of process parameters.

We offer a special monthly process check for those using external foundries with statistical reporting and tracking of data.

Direct measurments of 3D features and processes with traceable reference to recognised calibration standards.

The site specific preparation of a TEM foil using FIB (FibXTem) with a 100nm placement accuracy through a selected feature, without mechanical sample preparation and the extraction  of the foil to a grid ready for TEM analysis (standard samples are 20×8 microns by 100nm thick)

TEM foils can be machined and extracted from almost any materials surface and from any specific location or orientation, but they can also be customised for specific TEM applications. This requires additional effort but enables certain types of TEM analysis:-

– Low amorphous content (low kV Polishing)
– Ultra thin foils (sub 100nm) can be done to order.
– Wedge shaped foils (either vertical or lateral). These offer the TEM operator the chance to choose the thickness and ‘altered layer’ content of the analysis site within the foil.

Standard TEM foils fabricated by FIB are 15-20 microns wide, 8-10 microns high/deep and ~100nm in thickness. Of this up to 30% can be amorphised depending on the material. While this is irrelevant for many metrology applications, some applications require a higher crystalline proportion for success.

Low kV cleaning of a foil at 10 or 5KV can reduce the amorphous film to a few % of total thickness.

Ultra thin foils are interesting for higher resolution TEM studies, NanoScope has some unique techniques for routinely producing foils below 100nm. The exact eventual foil thickness remains material dependant as always though!

The imaging (inc. high resolution) and chemcial analysis of FIB produced TEM foils for any purpose. Analysis is performed in close collaboration with the customer requesting the work. We offer TEM analysis on a variety of machines, so we can match your requirments to the equipment best suited to provide the information you need.

Conventional FIB TEM foils production is generally limited to within 10 microns of the sample surface. Beyond this depth it is difficult to maintain parallel sidewalls and produce foils thin enough to remain sufficiently electron transparent. NanoScope has perfected a method to producing a TEM foil from up to 30 microns depth from a sample surface. Mechanical preparation can also be used to access the correct ‘Z’ position for producing a foil.

Cryo-DualBeam permits FIB analysis techniques to be applied to many materials which were not previously compatible. This is achieved by the Cryo-preparation of these samples prior to FIB processing. (polymer, cell culture, cell solution, low K dielectric, organic/inorganic mixture, food stuffs, cosmetic products, bio-materials interfaces etc.) The sample is plunge frozen, coated with a protective layer, then FIB sectioned at the point of interest. Field emission SEM images of the structures enables site specific examination of Cryo prepared samples for the first time, without the need for fortuitous fracturing.

NanoScope engineers were the first to successfully pilot these techniques and are the most experienced users of Cryo-DualBeam equipment in Europe today.

Creating or optimising 3D structures from a few nano-meters in size up to several hundred microns, by direct Ion beam milling, Ion-induced deposition of various materials or the selective etching of one material over another using gas assisted etching.

Full digital patterning provides pixel-perfect beam placement for direct write single device lithography without resist.
Structures to be created can be supplied in the form of greyscale bitmaps or other image types with dimensional information provided so that they can be scaled correctly.

This application lends itself easily to the prototyping of photonic arrays, microfluidic structures, patterning of thin film devices and imprint or embossing technology.

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