Saturday, March 20, 2010

bad-tempered Atlantic Ocean USA,

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The 20th European Symposium on Reliability of Electron Devices, Failure Physics and Analysis (ESREF 2009) was held October 5 to 9, 2009, at the Palatium in Arcachon, near Bordeaux, France (Fig. 1). Arcachon is a charming town 40 miles from Bordeaux and just a few minutes from the Atlantic Ocean and the Landes Forest. Arcachon Bay (Fig. 2) is crowned by Europe's largest sand dune, the Dune de Pyla, nearly 1.8 miles long, 1640 yards wide, 352 yards high, and moving inland at a rate of 16 yards/year. The 150-year-old town of Arcachon was built when hygienists began recommending sea bathing. Wealthy people started to enjoy this location, and the town still retains its nice, old-fashioned lifestyle. The ESREF attendees appreciated the setting as well as the sunny weather during the conference. Located close to the seaside, the Arcachon Palatium offered the perfect combination for ESREF participants, who enjoyed the beach, sun, and seaside restaurants after exciting and intense exchanges during the conference.

The international symposium continued its 22-year history of focusing on the latest research developments and future directions in quality and reliability management of materials, devices, and circuits for microelectronics. It provided a European forum for developing all aspects of reliability management and the state of practice in advanced analysis techniques for present and future semiconductor applications. Thus, all aspects of specification, technology, manufacturing, test, control, and analysis were addressed. Similar to the 2008 event, the conference concentrated on two main areas of interest in electronics that concern designers, manufacturers, and users:

* Strategy for quality and reliability assessment of electronic circuits and systems

* Advanced analysis techniques for technology and product evaluation

The event was organized by the IMS Laboratory of the University of Bordeaux and by ADERA, with the technical co-sponsorship of IEEE Electron Devices Society, IEEE Reliability Society, ANADEF Association (French failure analysis society,, and the European Center for Power Electronics ( The Conference Chairpersons, Nathalie Labat and Dean Lewis (IMS, University of Bordeaux, France), who were assisted by the Technical Program Committee led by Francois Marc (IMS, University of Bordeaux) and Patrick Poirier (NXP Semiconductors, France), built a nice program with 4 tutorials, 9 invited papers, 46 oral presentations, and 32 posters. Four workshops took place during the event: the European FIB Users Group (EFUG); the European Failure Analysis Network (EUFANET); "Reliability in Harsh Environments: Application in Transportation and Industrial Environments;" and "LOTUS, The Issues of Long-Term Reliability for Industrial Applications: Deep Submicron Solutions."

The economic downturn shrank the attendance and the exhibition; however, the strong involvement of all participants was noticeable. All activities, including the four well-attended workshops and the gala dinner, were held at the Palatium, which generated closer ties and gave the event a busy and fruitful atmosphere.

The 13th EFUG was the first activity of the conference, and it attracted 50 people. Oral presentations and discussions at poster sessions covered a wide range of topics. Hugo Bender (IMEC, Belgium) presented a quasi-tutorial, "Ion Beam Interactions during FIBing." It was followed by a talk, "Lithography and Deposition with a Subnanometer Focused Helium Beam," by TU Delft (The Netherlands). Chad Rue (FEI) then offered "Methods for Quantifying 'Milling Acuity.'" There were many other interesting presentations, sometimes related to life sciences, such as "Three-Dimensional Characterization of Dental Tissue Using FIB-SEM Tomography" and "Preparation of High-Quality Nanopores for Successful Nanobiology Experiments." A new etch solution was presented ("Novel Dielectric Etch Solution for FIB Circuit Edit: Application for Editing Memory Devices with Tungsten Metallization"). All of the presentations, as well as previous EFUG workshop presentations, can be downloaded from the EFUG website (

During the first afternoon, the workshop "Reliability in Harsh Environments: Application in Transportation and Industrial Environments" was held. Organized by Eckard Wolfgang (Germany) and Helene Fremont (IMS, Bordeaux, France), this workshop focused on four topics: mission profiles, intelligent testing, industry oil drilling, and heat and reliability. The harsh environments concerned embedded electronics in transportation sectors (automotive with the expected boom in electric and hybrid vehicles, ground transportation such as trains, and aeronautics and space) and industrial environments (nuclear power plants, oil drilling, and alternative energy technologies). Because technology evolution has increased stress at the chip (higher power density, higher frequencies, increase in dimension and diversification) and package and assembly levels (densification of internal interconnections such as system in package, juxtaposition of radio frequency, analog, digital, and power blocks; new material such as lead-free solders; more aggressive processes such as package on package; and new stress dimensions such as 3-D), this workshop targeted a very hot topic that will be introduced at the next International Reliability Physics Symposium (IRPS): "Reliability of Alternative Energy Technologies" (unique IC-based reliability phenomena and failure mechanisms in alternative energy technologies, including solar, wind, transportation, nuclear, power transfer--smart grid--and power storage). Workshop presentations can be downloaded from (on the "During and After the Conference" page).

The conference was preceded by four tutorials that were linked to physics of failure topics. Two tutorials were focused on failure mechanisms--one on a critical wear-out mechanism (negative-bias temperature instability, or NBTI) and the other on electrostatic discharge (ESD). "Physical Mechanisms and Modeling of the Bias Temperature Instability" was presented by Tibor Grasser (Technische Universitat Wien, Institute for Microelectronics, Austria). He gave a broad review of published modeling attempts and compared their strengths and weaknesses. These models cannot capture many crucial aspects of the phenomenon. Consequently, he presented alternative models that also consider the impact of hole trapping.

The second tutorial, "ESD Testing of Devices, ICs, and Systems," was presented by Theo Smedes (NXP Semiconductors, The Netherlands). After a brief overview of the various ESD standards, he highlighted the most recent updates and the importance of transmission line pulsing (TLP) techniques to characterize ESD device behavior. Charged device model and system-level ESD analyzed by TLP are much less straightforward. Therefore, he explored how state-of-the-art TLP extensions can help close the gaps between classic ESD device characterization and ESD component/system-level performance.

The third tutorial, "MEMS Reliability: Where Are We Now?," was presented by Danelle M. Tanner (Sandia National Laboratories). She reviewed the current status of MEMS reliability of various devices (accelerometers, pressure gauges, radio frequency switches and resonators, and micromirror arrays). She described the effect of hydrocarbon contamination on metal switches, the subsequent increase in contact resistance over time, and, more generally, MEMS-specific package solutions such as wafer-level packaging and the effect on reliability.

The last tutorial, "Thermal Management of Power Electronics Systems," was presented by Eckard Wolfgang (ECPE, Germany) and Uwe Scheuermann (Semikron, Germany). It underlined cooling challenges by natural convection, forced air cooling, or liquid cooling; the overall goal to keep thermal resistances as low as possible; and the need for the built-in reliability concept. The thermal design and its verification were demonstrated on an insulated gate bipolar transistor converter.

The conference started Tuesday afternoon with an invited paper, "Process Dependence of BTI Reliability in Advanced HK MG Stack," followed by the Best Paper at IRPS 2009, "The Effect of a Threshold Failure Time and Bimodal Behavior on the Electromigration Lifetime of Copper Interconnects," and the Best Paper at the 2009 International Symposium on the Physical and Failure Analysis of Integrated Circuits (IPFA), "Can a MOSFET Survive from Multiple Breakdowns?" After this opening session, the platform sessions began. Platform papers were clustered into six different sessions:

* Session A: Quality and Reliability Techniques for Devices and Systems

* Session B: Failure Mechanisms in Silicon Technologies and Nanoelectronics (NBTI, low-k materials, copper interconnects, ESD, etc.)

* Session C: Electron and Optical Beam Test, Advanced Techniques for Failure Analysis and Case Studies

* Session D: Failure Mechanisms in Microwave and High Band Gap

* Session E: Packaging, Passive Components, and MEMS

* Session F: Extreme Environments: Power Devices Reliability, Aeronautic and Spatial Electronics Reliability

While it is not possible to describe all of the interesting papers from the sessions (published in Microelectronics Reliability, Volume 49, Issues 9-11, September-November 2009), I would like to emphasize two of the invited papers, which were presented during Session C. One was on terahertz imaging and the other on FIB circuit editing.

Masatsugu Yamashita (RIKEN, Japan) overviewed advances in terahertz imaging in "Laser THz Emission Microscope as a Novel Tool for LSI Failure Analysis." His team developed noncontact inspection and localization of interconnect defects in a large-scale integration (LSI) chip using a laser terahertz emission microscope (LTEM). Terahertz waves can be emitted from LSI chips by ultrafast transient photocurrent generated from p-n junctions excited with femtosecond (fs) laser pulses. The LTEM measures terahertz emission images of an LSI chip by scanning it with fs laser pulses. Faulty device and golden device images are compared to localize the failure. He reported successful results from the inspection and localization of interconnect defects in the C7552 circuit of ISCAS'85 benchmark circuits using LTEM.

The second invited paper, "Physical Analysis, Trimming, and Editing of Nanoscale IC Function with Backside FIB Processing," was presented by Rudolf Schlangen (Berlin University of Technology, Germany). He showed how ultimate thinning, down to shallow trench isolation and less, can overcome severe challenges resulting from the aggressive downscaling of today's IC technology. He demonstrated how speed device performance modulation can be increased up to 20%, allowing the opportunity for new trimming of chip internal timing conditions on fully functional samples without being bound to preplanned fuses or varactors. FIB-induced device modification, its fields of application and its benefits, was deeply covered based on various experimental results and physical device simulations.

In addition to these invited papers, Session C was also a good opportunity for an update on laser techniques ("Electrical Modeling of the Effect of Beam Profile for Pulsed Laser Fault Injection," "Net Integrity Checking by Optical Localization Techniques," "Jitter Analysis of PLL-Generated Clock Propagation Using Jitter Mitigation Techniques with Laser Voltage Probing," and "Investigation on Marginal Failure Characteristics and Related Defects Analyzed by Soft Defect Localization"). It demonstrated the strong interest in these laser techniques. Another field covered was that of raising thermal challenges ("Finite Element Analyses Assisted Scanning Joule Expansion Microscopy on Interconnects for Failure Analysis and Reliability Investigations" and "IR Thermography and FEM Simulation Analysis of On-Chip Temperature during Thermal-Cycling Power-Metal Reliability Testing Using in-situ Heated Structures"). "Magnetic Microscopy for 3-D Devices: Defect Localization with High Resolution and Long Working Distance on Complex System in Package" underlined the growing challenges of system-in-package 3-D interconnections.

Session C also had six posters presented the same day of the EUFANET workshop. Well attended (50 participants) and very active, this short workshop was dedicated to "How to Analyze 3-D Packages." After an "Introduction to 3-D Packages FA Challenges" by Peter Jacob (EMPA, Switzerland), defect localization techniques by magnetic microscopy were presented. Dielectric current path mapping and the resulting capacitive open localization was demonstrated (Infineon, Germany). "High-Resolution, 3-D Short Circuit Localization by Magnetic Microscopy" by Fulvio Infante (CNES) completed this part. The second part was dedicated to sample preparation ("Laser Chip Access" by Frederic Beauquis, Digit-concept) and contactless physical analysis ("3-D X-Ray Tomography: Real Cases and Examples" by Jean-Philippe Roux, Sector/Xradia). Workshop presentations are available on the EUFANET website (

This year, all of the platform sessions were followed by authors' corners. It triggered many discussions and technical exchanges and probably contributed to the close atmosphere of ESREF 2009.

Even if the exhibition was smaller than last year (economic downturn again), it was well appreciated by the attendees and exhibitors (Fig. 3). The traditional exhibitor evening reception was a very good opportunity to drink Bordeaux wine. For folks who expected to taste Grave, Saint Emilion, and other Bordeaux wines, another chance was offered just before the gala dinner.

The last workshop, LOTUS, which dealt with long-term reliability, was held on Friday morning. After a short welcome and LOTUS introduction, the first workshop results and follow-up were presented. This half-day workshop then concentrated on "Commercial Parts: What Can the End User Do?," with the first part dedicated to methodologies ("Evaluation Test Program for Deep Submicron Monolithic Integrated Circuits," "Risk Analysis," and "Method of Evaluation of the DSM Criticity for Military Applications"). During the second part, some flash presentations showed how techniques such as dynamic laser stimulation ("Margin Analysis") and optical profilometry ("Reliability Improvement in Electronic Devices"), which were initially dedicated to failure analysis, can be used for reliability purposes. Flash presentations also underlined some challenges ("Still EMC Compliant?") and lifetime prediction possibilities ("Lifetime Reliability Estimation of Processor Cores at Design Level"). The workshop ended with a round table on the status of reliability activities, white book, reliability specification, and other end-user needs. It was followed by a short ESREF 2009 closing ceremony.

Three Best Papers were selected:

* "Multiscale Simulation of Aluminum Thin Films for the Design of Highly Reliable MEMS Devices" by H. Kubo and T. Masunaga (Toshiba Corp., Japan) and M. Ciappa and W. Fichtner (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland), to be invited to the Reliability Conference in Japan

* "Reliability Analysis of InGaN Blu-Ray Laser Diode" by N. Trivellin, M. Meneghini, G. Meneghesso, and E. Zanoni (University of Padova, Department of Information Engineering, Italy), and K. Orita, M. Yuri, T. Tanaka, and D. Ueda (Panasonic Corporation, Japan), to be invited to IRPS 2010

* "Investigation of Stress Distribution in Via Bottom of Cu-Via Structures with Different Via Form by Means of Submodeling" by J. Ciptokusumo and K. Weide-Zaage (Laboratorium fur Informations-technologie, Leibniz Universitat Hannover) and Oliver Aubel (Globalfoundries Inc., Germany), to be invited to IPFA 2010

Active, fruitful, friendly, and well organized with a wide range of topics dedicated to electronic reliability and failure analysis, ESREF continues to be a unique opportunity in Europe. If you missed the 2009 event, do not hesitate to attend ESREF 2010, which will take place October 11 to 15, 2010, at the historic Monte Cassino Abbey and the Summit Hotel in Gaeta, Italy, located between Rome and Naples. Gaeta, "The Pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea," lies in the middle of the Riviera di Ulisse. It is a splendid seaside town of natural and landscaped beauty with many monuments and historic and religious sites. Browse the ESREF website ( for more information and the call for papers.

Philippe Perdu, CNES, Toulouse, France

Source Citation
Perdu, Philippe. "ESREF 2009 in Arcachon." Electronic Device Failure Analysis 12.1 (2010): 19+. Academic OneFile. Web. 20 Mar. 2010.
Document URL

Gale Document Number:A219342306

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