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SSRM imaging tech improves LSI

Posted: 18 Apr 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:scanning spreading resistance microscopy? 45nm generation LSI? SSRM technology?

Toshiba Corp. announced a breakthrough in imaging electron-carrier paths and impurities in semiconductors, which allows analysis at the 1nm level for the first time. Based on scanning spreading resistance microscopy (SSRM), the technology will achieve LSI at the 45nm generation and beyond.

SSRM is a technology for two-dimensional profiling of localized resistance on a semiconductor cross-sectional surface, allowing analysis of the distribution of electron carriers and impurities. The demanding tolerances required for 45nm generation LSI makes it essential to understand electron-carrier density in the carrier channel, and to be able to control doping with 1nm level precision, as slight differences in electrical characteristics can lead to increased current leakage and risk of short circuiting.

SSRM uses a scanning probe to produce two-dimensional images of carriers in semiconductor device. These images reveal impurity induced resistance variation and allow analysis of electron-flow paths. However, the level of precision and repeatable generation of high-resolution SSRM images with conventional available probes has remained at around 5nm.

Problems with SSRM stem from two sources including degraded imaging accuracy due to the influence of water vapor on the sample and the difficulty of controlling a sufficiently stable contact between the sample and the probe. To overcome these factors, Toshiba installed the SSRM in a vacuum environment and refined the positioning of the probe. This allowed the company to optimize performance and advance to the 1nm level. Toshiba already applied this technology to LSI development with 45nm generation process technology.

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