SmartSoft AES

Operator’s Guide
Part No. 702064 Rev. A

The PHI logo (

) is a registered trademark of ULVAC-PHI, Inc.

Physical Electronics USA, PHI, SMART-Tool, SmartSoft, MultiPak and Watcher are trademarks of
All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

The Phi 700 AES is operated using three software packages:

SmartSoft-AES for the primary operation of the system including, sample intro, stage
navigation, SEM Imaging, Auger Analysis, and ion gun control for sputtering and
charge neutralization.
MultiPak for post acquisition and off-line data reduction and output.
Watcher for System Vacuum Control Interface

The system computer uses the Windows XP operation system and comes with Microsoft
Office suite. Microsoft Office suite includes Word for creating reports, PowerPoint for
producing presentation, and Excel for performing analyses and generating graphs and charts.
Data from the PHI software can be copied to the Microsoft Windows clipboard and pasted
into any of the Microsoft software packages quickly and easily. PHI data can also be saved
in a standard ASCII or graphics format and inserted into the Microsoft software packages.

SmartSoft-AES is a Windows-based interface with five primary “tabs” devoted to the
different tasks:

Intro, for loading and unloading samples
Sample, for navigation, locating and selecting analysis positions
SEM, for adjusting and outputting SEM images
AES, for acquiring Auger surveys, line scans, depth profiles and maps
Ion, for sputter cleaning the sample surface, depth profile sputtering and charge

Watcher is opened automatically when SmartSoft is started. Watcher runs in the background
and is interfaced through the SmartSoft “Intro” tab. One should typically not have to perform
any functions directly from the Watcher Window.

MultiPak will be covered within it’s own operation manual

Intro Sample This procedure describes introducing the samples into the analysis chamber. . Locate the Intro Sample flow. Load the sample to be analyzed onto a PHI sample holder Click the INTRO session tab along the top of the SmartSoft user interface. Click the Backfill V2 button. The Sample Transfer application is displayed on the right side of the SmartSoft window. V2 and V3 will toggle states NOTE: An hourglass will appear during the vent cycle. When the hourglass and the Intro pressure reaches 760Torr it is safe to open the . introduction chamber disappears lid.

it will be automatically started by watcher. Click the PUMP V3 button. Click the OK button on both message boxes. NOTE: If the turbo is not currently running. Slide the Introduction Rod assembly into its fully inserted position. This message will appear along with an hourglass during the pump-down cycle. V1 will open and a message box will appear.Open the intro chamber lid and install the sample holder onto the Intro arm. Close the intro chamber lid. . When the hourglass disappears it is safe to select the next cycle. Click the Intro Sample Button Note: The stage will move to the Intro position. then the V4 will close. V2 and V3 will toggle states NOTE: If the Automatically Start and Stop Differential Pump button in the Ion/Sputter/SputterProperties menu is selected.

V1 will automatically close. Sample introduction is complete. The stage will stay in the transfer position. Retract the Introduction Rod Assembly to its fully retracted position.Note: The stage will move up to engage with the sample holder. The Main Chamber status is “green”. . Click OK. The Main Chamber Status circle will change to yellow and back to green. Note: When the intro arm is fully retracted. A message box will appear. The sample is ready for positioning and analysis.

. Locate the Extract Sample flow Click the Pump V3 button. Click the INTRO session tab along the top of the SmartSoft-AES user interface. V3 and V2 will toggle states NOTE: If the Automatically Start and Stop Differential Pump button in the Ion/Sputter/SputterProperties menu is selected. The Sample Transfer application is displayed on the right side of the SmartSoft-AES window. NOTE: If the turbo is not currently running.Extract Samples This procedure describes extracting the samples from the analysis chamber. it will be automatically started by Watcher. then the V4 will close.

V1 will open and a message box will appear. . Click the OK button on both of the message boxes. Note: The stage will move to the Extract position. A message box will appear. Note: The stage will move down to disengage with the sample holder. When the hour glass disappears it is safe to select the next cycle.This message will appear along with an hourglass during the pump-down cycle. Slide the Introduction Rod assembly into it’s fully inserted position. Click the Extract Sample Button.

Retract the Intro arm to its fully retracted position. Click the Backfill V2 button. V2 and V3 will toggle states NOTE: An hourglass will appear during the vent cycle. V1 will automatically close. . The intro is ready for a new sample to be installed.Sample transfer is complete. Close the intro chamber lid. If installation is not required. Note: When the intro arm is fully retracted. Repump the intro . then the Intro Chamber can temporarily be pumped down until the next analysis. Open the intro chamber lid and remove the sample holder from the Intro arm. The stage will stay in the transfer position. When the hourglass disappears and the Intro pressure reaches 760Torr it is safe to open the introduction chamber lid.

— the SEM image is changed or an area is defined): . The toolbar buttons below are used interactively by selecting a button and then clicking and dragging over the image (i.Overview of SEM Image Area The SEM image area allows the operator to interact with the live SEM image using the pointand-click toolbar buttons.e.

Turn SEM imaging on When a sample reaches the stage. 2.6nA and load this setting. 1. The SEM setting will default to Previous. Along the right had side of the window. an SEM image is displayed. Click the pull down arrow and select a setting such as 1kV 0. perform the following procedure to turn imaging on: 1. . 3. Z Align Procedure The procedure to perform Manual Z Align to position the surface of the sample at the focal point of the analyzer is given below. If imaging is not already on. click the Z align tab. which sets the electron gun beam voltage and beam current parameters to values last used. Navigate to a position of interest on the surface of the sample. Click the Sample tab. 2. Click the SEM tab.

During Z Align.This opens the Z Align box. . loads the Z Align electron gun parameters and starts the Z alignment. Click the Stage tab along the right side of the window and enter a Z value and click “Z” to move to this value. Z Align data is collected from the center of the SEM image’s field of view. the SEM image is frozen. or use the up/down arrow keys on the keyboard to move the sample up or down to center the Curve about the 1003 eV Green line.

return to the Z Align tab along the right side and click the Z Align icon to complete the alignment ..NOTE: The curve in the graph represents the elastic peak. When the peak is centered about the 1003 eV Green line. an energy at or close to 1000 eV that is unique to each system.

then click and drag left or right to adjust focus. Click the point and click position button next to the Field of View pull down. Click the point and click position button to move the sample again as needed. thereby decreasing or eliminating charging of the area during analysis. The area can be adjusted by clicking the box and then dragging the outline of the box to change the size. then to a smaller field of view (higher magnification) so that the feature is magnified. or clicking in the box and dragging the entire box to move the location. (smaller field of view settings) it is helpful to select the medium scan speed and then click the Reduced Image Area. A 10 kV beam voltage is popular for several reasons: good Auger electron yield for both high and low Auger energy peaks.Optimize the electron gun operating parameters Next. Click the SEM session and then the SEM Flow tab. Under SEM Settings. When focusing at the higher magnifications. then click Load. and known and published sensitivity factors. It may also be necessary to adjust the image brightness and contrast to obtain the best SEM image . select a setting with the beam voltage and beam current desired. Because of the smaller beam diameter and the nature of e– scattering‡. The high-voltage electron beam can penetrate the insulating layer and provide a conducting path to the underlying conductive layer. Stigmation can also be done by clicking in one of the stigmator fields and using the up down and left right arrow keys on the keyboard. a 20 kV or 25 kV beam is often used for analysis of small particles on a wafer surface. It also may be necessary to go to a larger field of view (lower magnification) to find a feature (especially on an unpatterned wafer). then optimizes the associated operating parameters for the electron gun. The feature will be viewed while adjustments are made to the SEM image. so it should dominate the image view . distinct feature on the sample. It may be necessary to adjust focus using the Focus button or using the up down arrow keys in the focus field: click the focus button.† A beam voltage of 20 kV or 25 kV allows for a smaller beam and is good for penetrating samples that have an insulating layer on top of a conductive layer. then click over the feature to center it in the image view. Fine focus adjustments are done with the 10 turn knob on the power supply in the electronic rack to the right of the operator. . good beam size. the operator selects an operating beam voltage that is appropriate for the samples. This procedure starts with selection of a predefined “setting” that has the beam voltage and beam current desired for operation. Select a round.

Z. Using the mouse to draw a box around a feature in the SEM image will Zoom to the size of the box you draw. In addition. The user must click another field or hit the keyboard Enter key to insure the newly entered parameter will take affect. This will save the SEM image. Y. . allows you to point and click at any point in the SEM image. T or R axis and click enter to accept this value. clicking on the Move/Zoom button. Choose the Absolute or Relative Drive Mode. but with no annotation such as location of Points or Line Scan analyses. and then paste the image into a Word or PowerPoint Document to save an image with annotation and location of Analysis Points or Lines Navigating on a Sample While in the SEM tab. Tilt or Rotate button (in the Drive column to the right of that position field) to move to that new position. . to stop all stage movement. Click the Copy to Clipboard icon. Z. Note: Typing in a value and selecting Drive will drive to the previous value entered in this field. 3. you can click the Sample tab along the top of the window and the Stage tab along the right had side of the window to use Absolute or Relative coordinates to drive the stage. Type a target position for the X.To save and SEM image. 1. The Stop All button can be used as an emergency stop. The stage will move to bring this point to the center of the field of view. Y. Click the camera icon . 2. Click the X.

This includes all SEM images saved to file. All data files generated will be saved to that drive and folder The file extensions for data files in SmartSoft-AES are: • .spe • Image: . then the Directory tab. and all surveys.lin • Map: .sem • Depth profile: . multiplex: .AES Tab Procedures in the AES session are described in this • Line scan: . multiplexes. line scans and maps. depth profiles. Any files recently opened from the Directory tab will also be listed in this record. Select the directory in which to save data files by selecting a drive and then a folder. In the AES session. click the Lab Book application tab. Lab Book Lab Book creates a record of all data acquired in SmartSoft-AES. These include: Lab Book Surveys Multiplexes Depth Profiles Line Scans Maps Image Registration .

Use the Directory Tab to highlight the desired base directory. the electron beam is rapidly scanned. over an area of the surface. high-sensitivity acquisition of Auger data over a wide energy range. In point analysis. . over an area of the surface. Before performing Auger analysis. multiplexes or depth profiles.To Setup the Lab Book for the current samples. click the Lab Book tab. In area analysis. the operator must specify where on the sample the analysis should occur. under Advanced Control. or rastered. Click the Set Base Directory button. Areas and points are defined prior to acquiring surveys. click the Properties button. at 5 milliseconds/point) to survey the elements present at a point on the sample or over an area. then. providing an overview of elements present that will guide the design of the remaining analysis session. Surveys An Auger survey is a quick. high-sensitivity scan of a wide energy range (typically 30 to 2030 eV in 1 eV steps. In point analysis. a stationary electron beam is positioned on a specific point. or rastered. An Auger survey involves acquisition of one spectrum from a quick. Both areas and points can be defined for analysis. An Auger survey scan is used to identify which elements are present in the analysis area. This is typically the first step in any sample analysis. the beam is rapidly scanned. In area analysis. a stationary beam is positioned on a specific point.

.Defining Analysis Areas or Points in the SEM Viewer 1. click the Survey application tab. In the AES session. 2. Click the Analysis Areas tab.

in electron volts. To stop the acquisition before all cycles are completed. the upper limit of the energy range for which data are to be acquired. SmartSoft-AES displays.0.Lower Limit (eV): Range (eV): Upper Limit (eV): eV/Step: Number of Cycles: Acquisition Time (min): Specify. This setting is normally 1. The Stop button terminates data acquisition at the completion of current cycle and saves the data. The computer calculates the total time that the acquisition will last for all areas based on the entered parameters. the lower limit of the energy range for which data are to be acquired. The Acquisition Status box appears. Acquire the Survey Acquisition 1. Acquisition begins. use either the Stop button or the Abort button. in electron volts. Specify the number of cycles the acquisition will last. Click the Start button in the Survey area. Specify the energy resolution of the scan. Specify. in electron volts. The Abort button stops immediately and deletes the data. the extent of the range of energies over which data are to be acquired. The box also displays the total number of areas and cycles in the acquisition. displaying the current cycle and the current area for that cycle. .

A depth Profile and a Map. This type of acquisition yields great sensitivity and spectral detail in a short analysis time. To select the elements for a MultiPlex is very similar to selecting the elements for a Line Scan. This brings up the Periodic Table box. The acquisition region will be displayed with a separate trace for each Analysis Area. To select elements. With the Data Acquisition tab selected. Click the desired elements to select them. SEM imaging is turned off and the data being acquired are displayed in the AES output area. As many as 20 elements can be acquired in one multiplex. then the Multiplex tab. click the Survey application tab. Data will be displayed in the Spectral Viewer. In the AES session tab. Multiplexes A multiplex is a set of spectra from a series of high-resolution acquisitions of narrow energy ranges (typically 30 eV in 0. A multiplex acquisition is useful primarily when looking for trace elements.During the acquisition. . click the periodic table button.5 eV steps at 20 ms/point). because only selected energy regions expected to contain Auger peaks of interest are scanned.

Or Select All Elements to obtain a full list to choose a different element and transition .To select a different transition for an element. right-click over the element in the table. then select the transition from the context menu.

Adjusting the X axis will stop the Test Acquire and restart with a new energy range available to optimize the analysis and acquisition windows. Adjust the windows so that the full peak (both the most positive and negative excursions of the data) is contained within the analysis window (red lines). . In the Test Acquire box toolbar. if the sample charges and the Auger peak shifts upward in energy. which displays the region for the element highlighted in the element table. click the spectra button to begin acquisition of the selected element. In addition. Clicking the X axis and dragging while pressing the Shift key will offset the axis’s scale. the acquisition. Adjust the X axis of the Test Acquire graph by clicking the axis and dragging to stretch or shrink the axis. Moving the Test Acquire point automatically stops. a Test Acquire point is displayed in the SEM image area. Use the Test Acquire point on the SEM image to search for the element at various points on the sample. if needed. Test Acquire provides an opportunity to determine whether the acquisition window Setup for each element is optimized.Perform Test Acquire Perform a Test Acquire for each selected element. click the spectra button. the peak will not move outside the acquisition windows In the table toolbar. This opens the Test Acquire box. Press the bar between S9|D9 to select smooth/differentiated data as displayed in the graph. NOTE: It is important to make each window wide enough to include the entire Auger peak. The area within the red lines (analysis window) is used to generate atomic concentration data and depth profiles. The windows need to be wide enough so that. The test acquisition will continue until the stop button is clicked. Click anywhere in the SEM image field of view to move the Test Acquire point to that location. The area within the blue lines (acquisition window) indicates the range over which data are acquired. and then restarts. The windows are adjusted by clicking on a line with the mouse and dragging.

until each element has had a Test Acquire performed and its parameters adjusted as needed. In the Multiplex Parameters area. The Data Collection Time Per Area shows the total time the acquisition will last for all area(s) based on the entered parameters. Perform the Test Acquire procedure detailed above.Click the >(next active element) or < (previous active element) button to perform a Test Acquire on the remaining elements listed in the element table. select the number of cycles that the acquisition will acquire. click the Start button. In the Multiplex area. Sputtering is described in the Ion section . The Multiplex Survey appears in the AES Survey Data Window Depth Profiles An Auger depth profile is made by alternating sputtering with data acquisition.

set the desired parameters The MultiPlex Surveys and the Depth Profile appear in the AES data windows Line Scans Auger line scans can provide important additional information beyond maps. The scans are collected by stepping the electron beam. . along a selected line. In the Profile Parameters area. Line scan acquisitions yield a better signal-to-noise ratio from the sample than does a map acquisition.Click the Profile tab.and 3-point line scans) or spectra (in the case of window line scans) collected along a horizontal or vertical line across a sample. An Auger line scan is a series of data points (in the case of 2. and up to 20 regions can be acquired for each line. Up to 6 lines can be scanned. especially for small features. and in a shorter time. point by point.

In the Map Parameters area. An Auger map is obtained by setting the spectrometer to a specific Auger peak energy and digitally stepping the electron beam point by point over the selected specimen area. The intensity value is obtained by measuring the intensity at a specific Auger peak energy (the energy of the element’s principal Auger peak). set the desired parameters. 1. . Each array of intensity values corresponds to an element.Maps The map is a set of intensity-value arrays acquired over the area of the SEM. then subtracting the background intensity. the peak intensity above the adjacent background is measured and then digitally stored for later processing. At each point. Click the Map application tab. and each value in the array corresponds to a point in the map area.

Click the “1” button in the Image Registration flow. resize the box by clicking on an edge and dragging. This is important when doing several analyses on one analysis area. . Move the box by clicking on the box and dragging. Setup image registration as follows: 1. Click the Register Image button to test the reference image. A box appears on the SEM image that defines the reference image. ensuring that data are acquired in the exact location intended. click the Save Image button to save the image. Image registration determines if the reference image has drifted and automatically compensates for the beam drift. Image registration should be tested after set-up is complete to verify that the image is aligned correctly. This image is stored. because the position of the acquisition area may move over time due to beam drift. Once satisfied with the position and size of the reference image. Position the box so that it is around a distinguishable feature. the live image is checked against the stored image and the live image is shifted electronically to correct for any drift. In the AES session.Setup Image Registration Image registration is used to define an area on the video monitor as a reference image. click the Image Registration application tab. As the analysis proceeds. The image registration procedure involves defining a reference image around a feature with a well-defined edge.

Click the Diff V4 button in the Startup/Shutdown area. select the desired sputter setting. Click the mPa Button to read the Ion gun pressure Click the Ar V8 Button to bleed Ar gas into the ion gun Sputter . and click Load. In the Sputter Settings area. Click the Ion Button to warm up the gun filament.Sputtering Sputtering conditions are all set under the Ion tab Click the Sputter Flow tab. This starts the differential pumping of the ion gun.

Note: The status Bar will automatically update with the ion gun state during a Profile Acquisition. Sputtering Manually The operator may sputter clean the sample surface without acquiring data. Click the Timed Sputter button Shut down the ion gun and filament To extend the lifetime of the filament.” where sputtering is done prior to an acquisition. The ion gun will be started and stopped as needed for the sputtering requested in the acquisition menu. specify the raster beam size in millimeters in the x and y axes. or “manually. Note: the ion gun must be in the Blank state before a profile Acquisition can be started. . See the Depth Profile subsection of the AES section of this manual for more details.Sputtering can be done “automatically. Choose a user setting with the desired impact energy. but is not part of the acquisition. Select a Time (min) for the sputter interval. Parameters that can be adjusted in the Depth Profile area include sputter mode. Use the Timed Sputter area in the Sputter Flow tab. sputter time and sputter interval. sputter current and raster size. A larger raster size sputters a larger area on the sample and results in a lower sputter rate Sputtering Automatically During Depth Profile Acquisition Set the acquisition parameters for the depth profile data acquisition in the Depth Profile application tab area (AES session tab).” as part of a depth profile acquisition where sputtering alternates with data acquisition. Typical raster size is at least 4x the analysis/feature area. the ion beam filament should be turned off when no more sputtering is planned for an hour or longer. Raster sizes of 1 to 5 mm are typical. In the Raster Control area.

Click the Ion Button to turn off the filament. This shuts the flow of Ar gas to the gun. Because the ion gun and the sample intro share the same pump. Click the Diff V4 Button to stop the differential pumping of the gun.Click the Ar V8 button in the Startup/Shutdown area. at this time you must go to the Intro Tab and Click the Pump Intro Button .