As the feature dimensions of submicron semiconductor devices and transistor continue to shrink, it’s become increasingly challenging to identify defects that reduce the reliability and performance. VLSI technology encompasses smaller features and semiconductor devices, making it more difficult to reveal some of the subtle defects affecting the yield of integrated circuits in the nanometer generation nodes. This is where nanoprobing technique enters the picture, equipping manufacturers with the capability to isolate and characterize the exact failing transistors of malfunctioned devices. For over two decades, the industry has witnessed constant shrinkage of the component size of ICs, propelling manufacturers to stay abreast of the current nanoprobing trends to gain a competitive edge.
However, in this ever-changing landscape, there has been one constant in all these years: the unparalleled nano-probes designed and developed by MESOSCOPE Technology. Born with the singular focus of overcoming the limitations of semiconductor applications and measurements, Mesoscope is developing the most advanced nano-probe tips since 2006. “We have achieved all dimensions of probe tip apex to service all semiconductor devices from micro-meter scale to smaller than 2nm. From 2006 to 2012, the tips of MESOSCOPE were not being accepted by customers because they were too small and sharp. When the technology shrank to 28nm, MESOSCOPE’s tips finally started to be used in semiconductor foundries. Today, we are well-positioned to resolve the diverse technical difficulties with a tip for device smaller that 2nm that has been put into production,” begins Vincent Huang, Chairman, MESOSCOPE Technology. Today, MESOSCOPE Technology contributes to developing new measurement methodology of semiconductor devices and developing the next generation memory device structure to solve the development hindrance of advanced technology.
The Taipei-based firm started its illustrious journey in 2006 with a purpose in mind: provide the most advanced Nano- Scale methodology and measurement concepts imported into Taiwan and China. At that time, aligned with Moore’s Law, the team at MESOSCOPE Technology could foresee that device analysis and measurement will become increasingly difficult when the device shrank beyond 65nm technology. This is when MESOSCOPE Technology turned to develop nano-scale metallic conductive probe tips. MESOSCOPE Technology has come a long way from developing curvature radius 50nm probe qualified and used for failure analysis on 65nm technology devices in 2010 to devising curvature radius 5nm probes qualified by one of the most advanced wafer OEMs for failure analysis on their 10nm and 7nm technology devices in 2015.
When the world economies are reeling from the effects of COVID-19, MESOSCOPE Technology continues to grow by leaps and bounds, witnessing 250 per cent increase in annual sales in 2020 compared to 2015.
Since 2019, MESOSCOPE has been focused on offering nanoprobing service for customers to measure a device’s electrical characterization and locate defects. Besides, the company also develops ultra-thin film coating technology. The team looks forward to combining its nano probe fabrication advantage and this new technology to expand applications of failure analysis.
Making a Difference
As the leading company for manufacturing nano-scale probe, MESOSCOPE takes immense pride in providing probes for various SEM-based nanoprobing systems. Since 2019, the company has started providing failure analysis services for all the semiconductor foundries and designing houses worldwide. Based on its advanced device measurement methodology, highly-professional technique, and adept nano-probe system, MESOSCOPE provides advanced failure analysis for customers to resolve their challenges and overcome the production yield.
Touching upon the primary challenges in failure analysis, Huang stresses that most organizations lack the knowledge when placing multiple, similar, sharp probes with good conductivity on shrunken nodes. These obstacles, he underscores, will only aggravate in the future with the increased shrinking of devices. Based on the semiconductor development map, MESOSCOPE is committed to its customers’ requirements and empowering them with perfect probes in the most challenging nanoprobing applications. Keeping up with the challenges of today and tomorrow, MESOSCOPE has prepared several models that could be used for failure analysis for the next two generations. “MESOSCOPE is developing tip needle assembling for an advanced generation. The most advanced probe tip of MESOSCOPE is Ultra CR5 plus, and it is for the technology which is smaller than a 2nm semiconductor device. We are ready for the future challenge,” he adds. While fabricating nano probes with traditional methods can be extremely challenging, MESOSCOPE has developed its MST(Micro Surface Treatment) module to control apex profile, clean and treat the surface with a high yield rate.
“MST is a kind of electrical chemical etching technology and has material selective feature for primary removing residue and contamination from surface of probe rapidly. Besides, MST can polish the surface of probe and is available to control dimension and profile of probe in nanometers level,” explains Huang, before highlighting that MST is a big leap in overcoming the limitations of traditional methodology to manufacture nano-scale conductive metallic probe tip. With this advantage, MESOSCOPE Technology is capable of controlling profile of probe tip efficiently and accurately. This allows establishing higher form of specification for end-users for failure analysis on their advanced technology device.
At the core, MESOSCOPE’s MST module enables multiple vital functions such as tip surface cleanness, surface treatment, and probe apex reshaping. MESOSCOPE provides detailed specifications and different magnification SEM images for each tip. When tips are ready for delivery, all the SEM images are uploaded to MESOSCOPE website, whereby the customers can use their customer ID to login to MESOSCOPE Web and see all SEM images of their order. “Besides tips apex, we also provide three parameters to make the tips as similar as possible for customer reference. The tip specifications of MESOSCOPE are very rigorous, making us the preferred choice of our customers,” adds Huang.
MESOSCOPE brings in a straightforward onboarding process whereby the company follows up regularly for client’s usage experience, understands their problems, and updates the development roadmap accordingly. MESOSCOPE also has a strong R&D team that analyses the root cause of the clients’ issues and suggests diverse solutions to solve their problems and deliver an enhanced user experience.
In the days to come, MESOSCOPE will continue challenging the physics limitations to enhance the applications of nano-probe techniques and establish all failure analysis related scope services. The company is under research and development phase to expand applications of MST. MESOSCOPE also plans to fabricate metallic probe for CAFM, SSRM, SCM, and MFM applications with its probe manufacturing technique. “Compare to traditional silicon substrate with coating conductive material, MESOSCOPE’s probe is entirely made of Tungsten to allow much better conductivity. In addition, with over four width-depth ratios at 100nm behind apex, it will bring excellent resolution,” concludes Huang.