Power semiconductor devices and applications

Energy efficiency, mobility, and green technologies are driving continuous innovation in power device development. A broad range of “green” applications are pushing switching power amplifiers towards more extreme operating conditions, impacting everything from simple diodes to lateral and vertical MOSFETs, silicon and silicon carbide IGBTs, and gallium nitride JFETs. Higher voltages, frequencies, and temperatures require increased product quality and reliability. Yields are challenged by increasingly complex processes, novel materials and substrates, and application specific packaging designed to dissipate heat more efficiently.

As performance demands increase and power technologies advance, power device manufacturers and their customers need tools that quickly pinpoint fault locations at operating conditions. Subsequent characterization of materials, interfaces, and device structures require precise, high-throughput analysis.

Fault localization of power semiconductor devices

Power devices pose unique challenges for localizing faults, primarily as a result of power device architecture and layout. Unlike logic and memory technology which use very large-scale integration of tiny transistors, power technology is based on a single transistor covering up to hundreds of square millimeters. Connecting diodes and discrete devices, the switching power topology creates a “needle-in-the-haystack” scenario for defect detection. Whereas integrated circuits are equally susceptible to opens and shorts, power-device reliability is generally associated with short circuits. Under high-voltage and high-current conditions, a small leakage path in a power device can quickly cascade into a catastrophic failure.

Detecting and localizing a leakage path before it becomes a dead short is critical to meeting reliability standards and preventing liability issues. Early detection might point to a crystal defect in the substrate or epilayers, a metal bridge or a particle, or even a weak spot in the gate oxide. Localizing a small leakage current under a micron-thick sheet of metallization is not a trivial challenge. Accurately localizing the defect to ensure its successful physical characterization is even more challenging. Methods and techniques that work for logic and memory devices won’t necessarily work for power devices.

Wide bandgap power devices

Wide bandgap semiconductor devices are composed of materials with a larger energy bandgap than typical semiconductor materials like silicon and gallium arsenide. This inherently allows them to operate at higher voltages, currents, and frequencies, making them ideally suited for power applications. Currently, wide bandgap power devices, composed of materials such as silicon carbide and gallium nitride, are being used in a variety of power applications including electric/hybrid vehicles as well as in energy storage and distribution industries. Further research and optimization of these materials necessitates high-resolution analysis and characterization to meet the device performance, safety, and quality requirements of these markets.

Thermo Fisher Scientific offers multiple failure analysis workflows optimized for the unique challenges of power devices. Follow the links below for more information on characterizing current-voltage behavior, detecting leakage currents, and analyzing materials and processes in modern power devices.


Applications

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Semiconductor Pathfinding and Development

Advanced electron microscopy, focused ion beam, and associated analytical techniques for identifying viable solutions and design methods for the fabrication of high-performance semiconductor devices.

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Yield Ramp and Metrology

We offer advanced analytical capabilities for defect analysis, metrology, and process control, designed to help increase productivity and improve yield across a range of semiconductor applications and devices.

Semiconductor Failure Analysis

Semiconductor Failure Analysis

Increasingly complex semiconductor device structures result in more places for failure-inducing defects to hide. Our next-generation workflows help you localize and characterize subtle electrical issues that affect yield, performance, and reliability.

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Physical and Chemical Characterization

Ongoing consumer demand drives the creation of smaller, faster, and cheaper electronic devices. Their production relies on high-productivity instruments and workflows that image, analyze, and characterize a broad range of semiconductor and display devices.

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ESD Semiconductor Qualification

Every electrostatic discharge (ESD) control plan is required to identify devices that are sensitive to ESD. We offer a complete suite of test systems to help with your device qualification requirements.


Techniques

Thermal Fault Isolation

Uneven distribution of local power dissipation can cause large, localized increases in temperature, leading to device failure. We offer unique solutions for thermal fault isolation with high-sensitivity lock-in infrared thermography (LIT).

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Optical Fault Isolation

Increasingly complex designs complicate fault and defect isolation in semiconductor manufacturing. Optical fault isolation techniques allow you to analyze the performance of electrically active devices to locate critical defects that cause device failure.

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Semiconductor Analysis and Imaging

Thermo Fisher Scientific offers scanning electron microscopes for every function of a semiconductor lab, from general imaging tasks to advanced failure analysis techniques requiring precise voltage-contrast measurements.

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Sample Preparation of Semiconductor Devices

Thermo Scientific DualBeam systems provide accurate TEM sample preparation for atomic-scale analysis of semiconductor devices. Automation and advanced machine learning technologies produce high-quality samples, at the correct location, and a low cost per sample.

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Semiconductor TEM Imaging and Analysis

Thermo Fisher Scientific transmission electron microscopes offer high-resolution imaging and analysis of semiconductor devices, enabling manufacturers to calibrate toolsets, diagnose failure mechanisms, and optimize overall process yields.

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Device Delayering

Shrinking feature size, along with advanced design and architecture, results in increasingly challenging failure analysis for semiconductors. Damage-free delayering of devices is a critical technique for the detection of buried electrical faults and failures.

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Nanoprobing

As device complexity increases, so does the number of places defects have to hide. Nanoprobing provides the precise localization of electrical faults, which is critical for an effective transmission electron microscopy failure analysis workflow.

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Semiconductor Laser Ablation

Laser ablation provides high-throughput milling of semiconductor devices for imaging and analysis with electron microscopy, while still preserving sample integrity. Access large-volume 3D data and optimize milling conditions to best suit your sample type.

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ESD Compliance Testing

Electrostatic discharge (ESD) can damage small features and structures in semiconductors and integrated circuits. We offer a comprehensive suite of test equipment which verifies that your devices meet targeted ESD compliance standards.

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Circuit Edit

Advanced, dedicated circuit edit and nanoprototyping solutions, which combine novel gas-delivery systems with a broad portfolio of chemistries and focused ion beam technology, offer unparalleled control and precision for semiconductor device development.

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SEM Metrology

Scanning electron microscopy provides accurate and reliable metrology data at nanometer scales. Automated ultra-high-resolution SEM metrology enables faster time-to-yield and time-to-market for memory, logic, and data storage applications.

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APT Sample Preparation

Atom probe tomography (APT) provides atomic-resolution 3D compositional analysis of materials. Focused ion beam (FIB) microscopy is an essential technique for high-quality, orientation, and site-specific sample preparation for APT characterization.

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Thermal Fault Isolation

Uneven distribution of local power dissipation can cause large, localized increases in temperature, leading to device failure. We offer unique solutions for thermal fault isolation with high-sensitivity lock-in infrared thermography (LIT).

Learn more ›

Optical Fault Isolation

Increasingly complex designs complicate fault and defect isolation in semiconductor manufacturing. Optical fault isolation techniques allow you to analyze the performance of electrically active devices to locate critical defects that cause device failure.

Learn more ›

Semiconductor Analysis and Imaging

Thermo Fisher Scientific offers scanning electron microscopes for every function of a semiconductor lab, from general imaging tasks to advanced failure analysis techniques requiring precise voltage-contrast measurements.

Learn more ›

Sample Preparation of Semiconductor Devices

Thermo Scientific DualBeam systems provide accurate TEM sample preparation for atomic-scale analysis of semiconductor devices. Automation and advanced machine learning technologies produce high-quality samples, at the correct location, and a low cost per sample.

Learn more ›

Semiconductor TEM Imaging and Analysis

Thermo Fisher Scientific transmission electron microscopes offer high-resolution imaging and analysis of semiconductor devices, enabling manufacturers to calibrate toolsets, diagnose failure mechanisms, and optimize overall process yields.

Learn more ›

Device Delayering

Shrinking feature size, along with advanced design and architecture, results in increasingly challenging failure analysis for semiconductors. Damage-free delayering of devices is a critical technique for the detection of buried electrical faults and failures.

Learn more ›

Nanoprobing

As device complexity increases, so does the number of places defects have to hide. Nanoprobing provides the precise localization of electrical faults, which is critical for an effective transmission electron microscopy failure analysis workflow.

Learn more ›

Semiconductor Laser Ablation

Laser ablation provides high-throughput milling of semiconductor devices for imaging and analysis with electron microscopy, while still preserving sample integrity. Access large-volume 3D data and optimize milling conditions to best suit your sample type.

Learn more ›

ESD Compliance Testing

Electrostatic discharge (ESD) can damage small features and structures in semiconductors and integrated circuits. We offer a comprehensive suite of test equipment which verifies that your devices meet targeted ESD compliance standards.

Learn more ›

Circuit Edit

Advanced, dedicated circuit edit and nanoprototyping solutions, which combine novel gas-delivery systems with a broad portfolio of chemistries and focused ion beam technology, offer unparalleled control and precision for semiconductor device development.

Learn more ›

SEM Metrology

Scanning electron microscopy provides accurate and reliable metrology data at nanometer scales. Automated ultra-high-resolution SEM metrology enables faster time-to-yield and time-to-market for memory, logic, and data storage applications.

Learn more ›

APT Sample Preparation

Atom probe tomography (APT) provides atomic-resolution 3D compositional analysis of materials. Focused ion beam (FIB) microscopy is an essential technique for high-quality, orientation, and site-specific sample preparation for APT characterization.

Learn more ›

Samples


Semiconductor Materials and Device Characterization

As semiconductor devices shrink and become more complex, new designs and structures are needed. High-productivity 3D analysis workflows can shorten device development time, maximize yield, and ensure that devices meet the future needs of the industry.

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Products

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Spectra 200

  • High-resolution and contrast imaging for accelerating voltages from 30-200 kV
  • Symmetric S-TWIN/X-TWIN objective lens with wide-gap pole piece design of 5.4 mm
  • Sub-Angstrom STEM imaging resolution from 60 kV-200 kV

Helios 5 PFIB DualBeam

  • Gallium-free STEM and TEM sample preparation
  • Multi-modal subsurface and 3D information
  • Next-generation 2.5 μA xenon plasma FIB column

Helios 5 DualBeam

  • Fully automated, high-quality, ultra-thin TEM sample preparation
  • High throughput, high resolution subsurface and 3D characterization
  • Rapid nanoprototyping capabilities

Talos F200E TEM

  • High-quality (S)TEM imaging of semiconductor and microelectronic devices
  • Precise, high-speed chemical characterization with EDS
  • Dedicated semiconductor-related applications

ELITE System

  • Completely non-destructive
  • Quickly identifies defective component on assembly board for accurate dispositioning
  • Localizes defect in x-y with micrometer accuracy, with depth location accurate to 20 µm

Hyperion II System

  • Atomic Force Probing
  • Localize transistor faults
  • Integrated PicoCurrent (CAFM)

nProber IV

  • Localize transistor and BEOL faults
  • Thermal nanoprobing (-40°C to 150°C)
  • Semi-automated operation

Nexsa G2 XPS

  • Micro-focus X-ray sources
  • Unique multi-technique options
  • Dual-mode ion source for monoatomic & cluster ion depth profiling

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Electron microscopy services for
semiconductors

To ensure optimal system performance, we provide you access to a world-class network of field service experts, technical support, and certified spare parts.

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