The Birth of PCOR-SIMS for Silicon Germanium (SiGe) Devices

Do you ever wonder where ideas for innovation come from? How we, as a people, have evolved over the centuries with new inventions, scientific discoveries, and ideas not thought of before? For us at Eurofins EAG (EAG), it can all be boiled down to one thing – the needs of a customer. All innovation is created to fulfill a need of something or someone. Therein lies the birth of PCOR-SIMSSM.

The Development of Silicon Germanium (SiGe) Devices

In the mid-1990’s the development of higher frequency Silicon Germanium devices (SiGe) gained momentum to address the need for increased performance in wireless systems. This demand was driven by the need for low-cost, and lightweight personal communications devices such as cellular phones and laptops, as well as other entertainment and information technologies which used wireless communication. Silicon Germanium provided easier integration to existing lower cost Si integrated circuits.

Developing Silicon Germanium (SiGe) devices was intricate and consuming, as it required various iterations, which led our customers to ask us to develop a method for acquiring accurate profiles for both dopants and matrix elements in Silicon Germanium (SiGe) materials. The objective was to accelerate development by bringing high accuracy characterization into the R&D and failure analysis cycle.

PCOR-SIMS aids advancements with Silicon Germanium (SiGe) devices

EAG Offers Solutions for Silicon Germanium (SiGe) Devices

As with any innovation, or a change in the status quo, there were naysayers – or those who poked holes at what could be possible. It was commonly assumed that Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) could not quantify matrix-level concentrations with sufficient accuracy, and calibrating dopant intensities continuously, with respect to varying matrix composition, as it would would be prohibitively time consuming. The naysayers however, helped a great deal by motivating the team to focus on perfecting the methodology of the technique to make it into what it is today. PCOR-SIMSSM, or Point-by-Point CORrected-SIMS, was birthed out of this need for a deeper level of accuracy.

SIMS Analysis

PCOR-SIMSSM is a technique that can measure layer thickness, composition, and doping profiles more accurately than a regular SIMS analysis, where the calibration is made at every data point with respect to change in the matrix composition. With the creation of the PCOR-SIMSSM analysis, EAG Laboratories was now able to provide more useful information due to better accuracy and reduced error. This in turn saved our customers’ time, money, and resources to solve a problem they might not have been able to solve on their own as quickly.

The development of the PCOR-SIMSSM method required the testing of a variety of samples, acquired in collaboration with Academia and the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST), and analyses by other techniques such as Rutherford Backscattering Spectrometry (RBS), Nuclear Reaction Analysis (NRA), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), etc. These analyses formed the basis for the empirical relationships between intensity and concentration that are the underpinnings of the PCOR-SIMSSM methodology. 

As with anything, PCOR-SIMSSM must constantly adapt and evolve as more complex materials are developed. This technique continues to prove to be a valuable resource to EAG customers to achieve a more accurate analysis and to provide the data they need to create sophisticated products efficiently. We would love to partner with you to help with your PCOR-SIMSSM related projects. Contact us today to learn more about how to utilize our proprietary PCOR-SIMSSM technique.

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