Journal Title

Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology B

Publication Date



One of the capabilities of focused ion beam systems is ion milling. The purpose of this work is to explore this capability as a tool for integrated circuit restructuring. Methods for cutting and joining conductors are needed. Two methods for joining conductors are demonstrated. The first consists of spinning nitrocellulose (a self‐developing resist) on the circuit, ion exposing an area, say, 7×7 μm, then milling a smaller via with sloping sidewalls through the first metal layer down to the second, e‐beam evaporating metal, and then dissolving the nitrocellulose to achieve liftoff. The resistance of these links between two metal levels varied from 1 to 7 Ω. The second, simpler method consists of milling a via with vertical sidewalls down to the lower metal layer, then reducing the milling scan to a smaller area in the center of this via, thereby redepositing the metal from the lower layer on the vertical sidewall. The short circuit thus achieved varied from 0.4 to 1.5 Ω for vias of dimensions 3×3 μm to 1×1 μm, respectively. The time to mill a 1×1 μm via with a 68 keV Ga+ beam, of 220 Pa current is 60 s. In a system optimized for this application, this milling time is expected to be reduced by a factor of at least 100. In addition, cuts have been made in 1‐μm‐thick Al films covered by 0.65 μm of SiO2. These cuts have resistances in excess of 20 MΩ. This method of circuit restructuring can work at dimensions a factor of 10 smaller than laser zapping and requires no special sites to be fabricated.


Focused ion beams

Publication Information

Copyright 1986 American Vacuum Society. The original published version of this article may be found at





Document Type

Journal Article