Never miss a story from Silicon Signoff and Verification. Subscribe for in-depth analysis and articles.
Today's conventional wisdom tells us EDA folks the majority of yield loss at semiconductor companies is due to systematic issues, that's what my customers say to me. When I speak with new prospective users of my yield ramp solution, I normally see concurring facial expressions when I mention this as the most pressing problem facing product engineers.
Given this apparent reality, the majority of manufacturing failures are being caused by defects due to a specific layout being implemented using narrow process windows. For example, lithography windows have shrunk significantly, the usable depth of focus can be ~200nm or less. If this is the case, and we see misprints that impact a device's implementation how can we best find the topologies that are being effected the most often?
I am very curious if readers believe that traditional inspection and or metrology methods are sufficient or do we need to use diagnostic tools to correlate ATE failures to likely offending pattern in the layout?