SBIR Phase I: Scanning Magnetic Microscope Using a Tapered Magnetoresistive Probe for Nanoscale Current Imaging of Integrated Circuits

Period of Performance: 01/01/2005 - 12/31/2005


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Neocera , LLC
10000 Virginia Manor Road, Suite 300
Beltsville, MD 20705
Principal Investigator


This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I research project is aimed at recasting magneto-resistive sensors in a high aspect ratio probe geometry to achieve nanoscale imaging of weak buried currents in a large range of packaged microelectronic devices. The manufacture of integrated circuits has become an increasingly complex nanoscale technology. With these dimensions, the propensity for the formation of shorts or high resistance defects (resistive opens) at the metal layers is increasing where "killer defects" may be non-visual and only be a few tens of nanometers in size. The goals are to achieve current images with a sensitivity of ~50 nA and a resolution ~100 nm in milled cavities. This will be achieved through developing an innovative probe design with a 50 micron tip that can be rapidly scanned in non-contact mode. The technology development that is proposed in this program is of critical interest to major semiconductor manufacturers, as well as all other semiconductor manufacturers working on advanced integrated circuits. The needed tools must have nanoscale resolution and a probe geometry capable of working in milled cavities due to the complex packaging schemes. For the nation, it means faster introduction of advanced electronics that will have a broad impact across all industries and ultimately improve quality of life and labor productivity.