The development of semiconductor devices requiring an increasingly complex sequence of epitaxial, dielectric and metallic layers has generated the need for precise measurements of the stresses and defects formed during the processing of these multilayer structures. The imaging of native and process-induced defects in semiconductors using X-ray topography has become a well-established procedure in the electronics industry. Recent advances in the quantitative determination of the layer stress simultaneously obtained during the X-ray imaging process yield a combined approach which opens up new possibilities for defect analysis in electronic materials. The present report reviews the X-ray topographical approach, both for transmission and reflection, with special emphasis on defect and strain field imaging. Quantitative stress analysis and automatic Bragg angle control techniques are then described. Representative examples are given for each individual topic to illustrate how the separate techniques work. Finally, a discussion is presented of how all the techniques can be used in a complementary fashion to solve a broad range of both fundamental and technologically relevant problems. © 1976.
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