How ZEISS Microscopes Support Chip Manufacturers

Looking inside structures of failed devices and finding out why they failed

In 2018, manufacturers are making chips with feature sizes down to 10 nanometers, which is about 10 thousand times smaller than the width of a single human hair. Making smaller chips with increased performance is complex. Chip manufacturers are using new materials and have transitioned to 3D chip structures, which have hundreds of layers stacked on top of each other. This means that the process control technologies used to monitor production of the chips at every stage must be equally as innovative. Effective process control technologies need advanced imaging, high resolution and contrast to identify defects and issues at every layer.

ZEISS technology provides unique insights

ZEISS light, electron and ion microscopes are used throughout the manufacturing process for 2D and 3D surface imaging. 3D imaging technology now makes it possible to measure volumes just as well as linear dimensions or cross sections. Another common use for 3D imaging is failure analysis. Chip manufacturers use ZEISS technology to look inside structures of failed devices for clues to why they failed, helping to create more stable and reliable products for the future. It isn’t often that modern technology fails us these days, but when it does, it is critical to find the source of a problem and then feed it back to the manufacturing process. ZEISS 3D x-ray microscopes can image packaged chips or systems such as smartphones. It literally allows device or systems manufacturers to see inside samples without the need to cut them open or otherwise physically alter them. When chip packages fail either from electrical shorts or open circuits, the 3D XRM images allows failure analysts to see what failures physically look like, which gives them valuable clues about the failures’ root cause.

Watch this Innoations segment with Ed Begley Jr. and learn how chip and system manufacturers use ZEISS microscope systems to troubleshoot failures and refine the manufacturing process:

More information on failure analysis in electronics

More information on structural analysis in electronics

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