Park Systems announced PinPoint Conductive AFM, an extremely accurate conductive measurement technology at nano-scale resolution for failure analysis in the semiconductor industry. PinPoint iAFM effectively solves the issues of traditional atomic force microscopy (AFM) thereby providing a solution to the needs of failure engineers in nanotechnology.

"Conductive AFM is an important tool for device research and failure analysis and with the introduction of PinPoint Conductive technology, Park Systems has succeeded in solving all of the shortcomings of conventional conductivity AFM, such as quick tip wear, degradation of resolution, low signal to noise ratio, no tip pressure control, and poor reproducibility of data. The conventional conductive AFM prevalent in the industry has to sacrifice the spatial resolution as the tip wears out in contact mode or the current level due to short and limited contact time," explains Ryan Yoo, Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing. "The newly developed PinPoint Conductive AFM provides the best of both higher spatial resolution and optimized current measurement."

PinPoint iAFM can overcome and often eliminate the respective difficulties that are present in conventional conductive AFM and solve the respective failure analysis problems faced by engineers with respect to SRAM (static random access memory) cells. The Pinpoint AFM technique claims the lowest current noise level (<0.1 pA), the maximum current available in the industry (10 mA) and the highest gain selection in the industry (it covers approximately seven orders of magnitude 106–1012). Furthermore, the controllable data acquisition time allows for a very high signal-to-noise ratio. Park’s PinPoint AFM is therefore an extremely effective tool for the characterization of electrical defects in SRAM cells for failure analysis.

By using Park Systems PinPoint Conductive AFM, scientists and engineers can acquire contact current measurement at any specific location of a sample at varying tip pressures, and at a much higher accuracy and precision than what has been possible to-date. The technology also allows frictionless conductivity scanning, reproducible data from repeated measurements, cost savings from longer lasting AFM probe tips, and sustained super high nano-resolution.

In PinPoint Conductive mode, the AFM probe monitors its feedback signal, approaches the sample surface until a predefined threshold point, measures the Z scanner’s height, and then rapidly retracts. The XY scanner stops during the electric current acquisition, and the contact time is controlled to assure enough time for quality data acquisition. PinPoint Conductive AFM allows higher spatial resolution with optimized current measurement over different sample surface; furthermore, it does not apply any lateral force thanks to the decoupled vertical movement of the Z scanner of the cantilever.

PinPoint Conductive was designed to replace the conventional contact conductive AFM and aims to eliminate the problems of the tip wearing out during contact mode topography and diminished contact time. Park’s PinPoint Conductive AFM enables engineers and research scientists to characterize and confirm electrical designs of semiconductor device structures with much more accuracy, precision and confidence in the data.

Source: Park Systems