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Chip inspection in 3D

As computer chips have become increasingly crammed with nanometre-scale devices and circuitry, new microscopy techniques that can resolve the smallest features are required to enable chip design and inspection. X-ray imaging is uniquely suited for non-destructive, high-resolution imaging and Holler et al. make use of a recently developed computational imaging technique, X-ray ptychography, to generate high-resolution three-dimensional images of integrated circuits. They test X-ray ptychography on a circuit with known features, and then apply it to an Intel processor chip manufactured in the 22-nanometre technology, obtaining detailed three-dimensional maps of the devices with a resolution down to 14.6 nanometres. This technique could be used to assist quality control during chip production.

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