Meridian EX Semiconductor Fault Isolation System

Semiconductor failure analysis using electron beam probing

The Thermo Scientific Meridian EX System is an innovative electron-beam-based solution for precise defect localization in advanced logic devices. Using groundbreaking e-beam technology, it allows probing through complex wiring networks from the frontside or backside of the device. Providing a 10× resolution boost over optical methods, this ensures rapid, accurate, and reliable defect analysis of the most advanced semiconductor devices.

Defect localization challenges

New backside power distribution designs have introduced a significant inflection point for semiconductor manufacturing and design. Traditional optical fault localization is no longer viable due to the inability of lasers to penetrate metal interconnects and probe with the needed precision. The Meridian EX System utilizes active voltage contrast (e-beam) technology to enable metal interconnect probing. Because advanced node defect localization demands a finer probe than lasers can provide, the Meridian EX System offers <20 nm resolution, compared to the 150 nm achievable with laser-based technology.

Optical probing.
E-beam probing.

High-speed beam blanking

As advanced nodes demand tighter manufacturing tolerances, ensuring consistent electrical performance becomes increasingly challenging. Due to design issues or process variations, devices may not meet expected performance levels, or they may suffer from "soft" failures that become apparent only when tested “at speed”. The Meridian EX System, equipped with a high-speed, 2 GHz electron beam blanker and advanced pulsing electronics, exposes both hard and soft defects, facilitating precise defect analysis on the most advanced logic devices.

Meridian EX generates highlight gates operating at a specific frequency
Meridian EX validates transistor characteristics with "at-speed" transistor probing

Fault localization workflows

The Meridian EX System uniquely meets the needs of advanced logic failure analysis for multiple generations. Its industry-standard software interface ensures user-friendly operation and seamless integration with existing lab workflows, such as Thermo Scientific FIB-SEMs or DualBeam solutions for pre-probing preparation and post-probing delayering.

Meridian EX System technical highlights

  • Extreme high-resolution, field emission Thermo Scientific Elstar SEM Column with:
    • Integrated fast beam blanker
    • Immersion magnetic objective lens
    • Electron voltage imaging and probing (EVx) covers a broad operating range of frequencies to visualize transistor activity including phase images
  • Stage XY Travel: +/-77 mm
  • Stage load capacity: 1.5 kg
  • Load board size: 9 x 9” (Actual size may vary depending on mounting scheme and connectors.)

Meridian EX System datasheet

Download the datasheet for the full technical specifications of the Meridian EX System.

download the datasheet