Novel scanning, milling and data handling strategies for circuit analysis
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
- Grant type: Collaborative Research and Development Grants
- Year: 2019/20
- Total Funding: $27,645
Computer chip manufacturing companies use high resolution electron microscopes to scan a chip and high-powered ion beams to remove material (dig under the surface), expose buried features, and thereby determine whether other companies are copying their chips and infringing upon their intellectual property. As computer chips get more powerful, they also shrink, making it harder to detect tinier and tinier features. The microscopes have to get better just as the computer chips get better. But, as the microscopes look at smaller and smaller features, scanning the chips becomes excessively time consuming.In this project, we will use computer programs and automation to help us speed up the microscopes' scanning of the chips in order to save time and money. This requires a better understanding of the way the electron beam interacts with the sample. It also requires figuring out how to calculate the fastest time to scan a chip and using computer programs to accurately estimate the missing information. There are a number of mathematical methods to do this. Furthermore, we will try to understand how the ions dig into the sample so that we can expose 3-dimensional information using a new type of ion microscope, the plasma focused ion beam. This will be the first time a plasma FIB has been used to remove the packaging from computer chips and we will figure out if this approach can work.