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Fast Fault Isolation and Analysis in Advanced Semiconductor Packages Now Possible with Terahertz Time Domain Reflectometry

TeraView (https://teraview.com/), working with the Intel Corporation, has developed a next generation Terahertz (THz) Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) Failure Analysis (FA) tool to enable high resolution fault isolation in advanced and 3D semiconductor packages. Intel refers to the new technique as Electro Optical Terahertz Pulse Reflectometry, or EOTPR. The technique was pioneered by Yongming Cai, Zhiyong Wang, Rajen Dias, and Deepak Goyal at Intel’s ATD QR Laboratory.

The technique, which utilises TeraView’s proprietary Terahertz Pulse technology (TPITM), isolates faults on interconnects to within 10 microns, enabling production and quality issues to be rapidly identified and addressed. The tool reduces failure analysis times from days to minutes and enables fault isolation in packages where conventional FA tools have failed.

The need for advanced and 3D semiconductor packaging is being driven by the requirements of the mobile phone and consumer electronics industries, which aim to overcome limitations in integrated circuit form, functionality, and speed associated with conventional packaging. TeraView’s tool provides a unique capability which aids in the design and production of current and future generations of advanced packages, including complex wire-bonded, flip chip, and 3D packages as well as those utilizing new techniques such as Through Silicon Vias (TSVs).

In a recent paper presented at the ECTC Conference in Las Vegas Intel said:

‘With such a revolutionary concept, innovative design and superior performance, EOTPR will become an essential tool for microelectronic package fault isolation and failure analysis. By integrating EOTPR with other techniques such as 3D X-Ray in the FA flow, FA TPT and success rate can be dramatically improved. Fully automated systems can be developed for component, board and solder joint quality screening.’

Dr Don Arnone, TeraView’s CEO added ‘We are delighted to have successfully delivered a new product in close collaboration with the Intel Corporation. The importance of this new tool in both the development and the manufacture of advanced semiconductor devices has been identified and proven by our collaborators at Intel. The new product adds to TeraView’s growing track record of world firsts and opens up a very significant market opportunity for our technology’.

About Terahertz and EOTPR

Terahertz waves sit in the spectrum between infra red and microwave and as such have unique properties. Most techniques concentrate on the use of Terahertz for imaging or spectroscopy, both of which pass the waves through air. EOTPR is however different, in that the Terahertz wave propagates through interconnects in semiconductor packages.