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The Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Final Year Project Final Report Project I.D. number: SJK2-02

Project Title:

Packaged and Wafer Level Semiconductor Failure Analysis

Supervisor: Prof. Johnny K.O. Sin

Project Team Member:

Tso Kwok Piu, Jason



Li Hou Hang, Leo



Failure analysis (FA) plays a very important role in the IC production cycle and its goal is t o det er mine t he r oot cause of f ailur e so t hat corrective action can be taken.

I n or der t o f ind out t he f ailur e of an I C, many pr ocesses need t o be performed and these processes form the FA flow. In this project, the last process of the FA flow physical analysis consisting of the cross-section

and f ace lapping t echniques, see Figur e 1, is our f ocus because it st ill had plent y of r ooms f or impr ovement while ot her s had alr eady been well developed.

The aim of t his pr oj ect was t o develop a highly ef f ect ive and highly efficient procedure for the cross-section stage and the face lapping stage r espect ively and our obj ect ive was t o use t hese t wo t echniques t o obt ain the cross-section view of the device and the top view of the circuit of the f ailur e par t of t he I C in or der t o do pr ocess development and r ever se engineering of the semiconductor products.

Cross-section Procedure

Face lapping Procedure

Figure 1: Die before and after cross-section and face lapping procedures

Firstly, the cross- section and face lapping procedures were analyzed in order to find out the factors that affected their efficiency and effectiveness. Next, the effects of these factors were explained using some theories in Phyiscs. The explanations were then verified by conducting different experiments.

II n cr oss-- secttiion,, tthe ff acttor s wer e:: n cr oss sec on he ac or s wer e
Die alignment Correction of alignment errors during grinding Choice of polishing methods Choice of etchants in stain etching Direction of the die placement relative to the rotational direction of the grinding wheel Placement of the die on the grinding wheel Maximum rotational speed of the grinding disc for each diamond film that can withstand Choice of combinations of diamond lapping films

II n ff ace llappiing,, tthe ff acttor s wer e:: n ace app ng he ac or s wer e
Distribution of the additional force Alignment of the polishing plane of the die Grinding orientation of the die relative to the rotational direction of the grinding wheel The removal of the layer of passivation of the die Choice of the rotational speed of the polishing wheel Choice of the polishing cloths By conducting different experiments, the explanations of the effect of these factors were verif ied and t he best value or choice of t hese f act ors were determined using the suggested explanations and the cross sectional view and the top view of a die can be obtained.

After performing the cross-section and face lapping procedures, the cross sectional view and the top view of a die were obtained and they were shown in Figure 2 and 3.

Via connecting metal 3 and metal 2


Metal 3

Contact connecting metal 1 and polysilicon Silicon oxide between metal 3 and metal 2

Metal 1

Bare silicon

Metal 2


Figure 2: Image of the cross sectional view of a die after cross-section

Same position



Metal 2


Metal 3



Metal 1 under Silicon Oxide

Silicon Oxide

Metal 2 under Silicon Oxide

Metal 3

Via connecting Metal 3 and Metal 2

Met al 2

Figure 3: Images of the top view of a die and the Via connection between Metal 3 and Metal 2

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