Edit existing circuits of live devices
A single-beam FIB setup is an instrument that uses a focused stream of ions to alter or modify the circuitry of live devices. The FIB uses selective gases to either enhance milling rates or deposit materials (both conductive and dielectric).
Today’s leading semiconductor companies use focused ion beam (FIB) tools to perform microsurgery on integrated circuit (IC) devices. Although the use of the FIB for circuit edit (CE) is generally well known within the failure analysis (FA) community, several types of companies could benefit from learning more about its capabilities:
- Companies that are not currently doing any level of CE internally, such as “fabless” design companies. In many cases, these groups already outsource some FIB work to external service labs.
- Companies that already do some level of CE, but may have segments of their design community who are not aware of the FIB’s potential for CE. FIBs are powerful tools for CE because they can remove and deposit materials with high precision. These capabilities can be used to cut and connect circuitry within a device, as well as to create probe points for electrical test. Applications include validating design changes, debugging and optimizing devices in production, and prototyping new devices without costly and time-consuming mask set fabrication.
- FIB circuit editing can speed time to market by eliminating iterative cycles of prototype testing and mask modification. FIB-edited device prototypes are used to guide one-time modifications to masks—no more trial and error with successive versions of masks. In addition, FIB prototype devices are often used to enable higher-level testing in order to get a jumpstart on the next round of device modifications.