Posted in | Microscopy

FEI Launch Plasma Focussed Ion Beam System

FEI (NASDAQ: FEIC), a leading instrumentation company providing microscopy systems for research and industry, today released the Vion plasma focused ion beam (PFIB) system that removes material more than 20 times faster than existing FIB technologies.

Faster (20-50x) material removal addresses new markets for FIB-based failure analysis in advanced integrated circuit (IC) packaging applications that use larger scale structures to connect multiple chips in tightly integrated packages. The Vion PFIB system's ability to provide site-specific cross-sectional analysis of these new technologies in minutes rather than hours will accelerate process development and reduce time-to-market for new products.

"The new Vion PFIB is the first FEI product to incorporate plasma source technology," said Rudy Kellner, vice president and general manager for FEI's Electronics Division. "With more than a microamp of beam current, it can remove material much faster than liquid metal ion sources that typically max out at a few tens of nanoamps, while still preserving excellent milling precision and imaging resolution at low beam currents. The improvement of more than 20x in speed makes it practical to cross section and analyze critical new technologies that have become primary drivers of new product development in the semiconductor industry, such as 3D packaging and 3D transistor design technologies."

According to Dr. Peter Ramm, head of the department for device and 3D integration, Fraunhofer EMFT in Munich, "The increased milling speed provided by FEI's Vion PFIB system lets us perform analysis in minutes, as opposed to several hours on a conventional FIB. This capability is essential for failure analysis of advanced 3D-integrated systems in production, and FEI is releasing the Vion system at just the time when the market needs it."

By combining high-speed milling and deposition with precise control and high-quality imaging, the Vion PFIB system can be used in a variety of critical applications, such as: failure analysis of bumps, wire bonds, through silicon vias (TSVs), and stacked die; site specific removal of package and other materials to enable failure analysis and fault isolation on buried die; circuit and package modifications to test design changes without repeating the fabrication process or creating new masks; process monitoring and development at the package level; and defect analysis of packaged parts and MEMS devices.

Kellner adds, "The electronics industry is an obvious first use case for the new Vion PFIB system, however, we see potential applications in materials science and natural resources as well."

While the plasma source of the Vion PFIB system can deliver more than a microamp of current in a well-focused beam, it can still maintain excellent performance at lower currents used for high-precision final cuts and high-resolution (sub-30 nm) imaging. In addition, by introducing various gases, the Vion PFIB system can selectively etch specific materials or deposit patterned conductors and insulators. The plasma source also offers the potential to use different ion species to enhance performance in specific applications.
The Vion PFIB system is available for ordering immediately.

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