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4 November 2008


FEI launches automated strain analysis software package for S/TEM systems

FEI Company of Hillsboro, OR, USA, which provides atomic-scale imaging and analysis systems, has launched its new, automated TrueCrystal Strain Analysis package, which can be installed on a Titan or Tecnai scanning/transmission electron microscope (S/TEM) system and allows engineers to achieve highly accurate measurements in a fraction of the time of existing techniques, it is claimed.

“Silicon strain engineering is an important process innovation in advanced semiconductor manufacturing; it allows for improved device performance and efficiency at advanced technology nodes,” says Joseph Race, product marketing manager at FEI’s Electronics Division. “Currently, only TEM has proven capable of measuring these induced lattice strains at the required spatial resolution,” he adds. “TrueCrystal Strain Analysis is a complete analytical package for the determination of strain along any line in a crystalline sample, at the nanometer level.”

Tony Edwards, VP & general manager of FEI’s Electronics Division, adds, “FEI’s TrueCrystal Strain Analysis package is an example of our corporate commitment to providing customers with comprehensive, application-specific solutions that aim to maximize TEM productivity, reduce data acquisition times and lower overall cost of analysis.”

TrueCrystal uses a combination of nano-beam diffraction (NBD) in the TEM, and a powerful off-line data analysis package, to quickly and easily generate the high-quality data required for advanced strained silicon process development.

FEI says that the NBD technique is not subject to the limitations observed in more traditional methods, such as high-resolution TEM (HRTEM) and convergent beam electron diffraction (CBED). The on-line software component works within the microscope user interface, and the straightforward line-scan workflow will be familiar to anyone who has undertaken chemical analysis on a TEM, the firm says. The off-line software component allows for strain analysis of each individual diffraction peak of the acquired diffraction patterns. The resulting data is then used to automatically generate a plot of the strain profile across the acquired line scan. FEI says that, from experiment, through final data reduction, to presentation of results, the TrueCrystal Strain Analysis package, combined with a Titan or Tecnai TEM, allows rapid, accurate strain profile determination in a broad range of samples.

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