My watch list  

Electron beam induced current


Electron beam induced current (EBIC) is a semiconductor analysis technique performed in a scanning electron microscope (SEM) or scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM). It is used to identify buried junctions or defects in semiconductors, or to examine minority carrier properties. EBIC is similar to cathodoluminescence in that it depends on the creation of electron–hole pairs in the semiconductor sample by the microscope's electron beam. This technique is used in semiconductor failure analysis and solid-state physics.  

Physics of the Technique

If the semiconductor sample contains an internal electric field, as will be present in the depletion region at a p-n junction or schottky junction, the electron–hole pairs will be separated by drift due to the electric field. If the p- and n-sides (or semiconductor and schottky contact, in the case of a schottky device) are connected through a picoammeter, a current will flow.

EBIC is best understood by analogy: in a solar cell, photons of light fall on the entire cell, thus delivering energy and creating electron hole pairs, and cause a current to flow. In EBIC, energetic electrons take the role of the photons, causing the EBIC current to flow. However, because the electron beam of an SEM or STEM is very small, it is scanned across the sample and variations in the induced EBIC are used to map the electronic activity of the sample.


By using the signal from the picoammeter as the imaging signal, an EBIC image is formed on the screen of the SEM or STEM. When a semiconductor device is imaged in cross-section, the depletion region will show bright EBIC contrast. The shape of the contrast can be treated mathematically to determine the minority carrier properties of the semiconductor, such as diffusion length and surface recombination velocity. In plan-view, areas with good crystal quality will show bright contrast, and areas containing defects will show dark EBIC contrast.

As such, EBIC is a semiconductor analysis technique useful for evaluating minority carrier properties and defect populations.


  • H. J. Leamy, "Charge Collection scanning electron microscopy," Journal of Applied Physics, V53(6), 1982, P. R51 (Review Article)
  • C. Donolato, "On the analysis of diffusion length measurements by SEM," Solid State Electronics, V25(11), 1982, P.1077
  • J.-M. Bonard and J.-D. Ganiere, "Quantitative analysis of electron-beam-induced current profiles across p-n junctions in GaAs/Al0.4Ga0.6As heterostructures," Journal of Applied Physics, V79(9), 1996, P.6987
  • Cole, E. (2004). "Beam-Based Defect Localization Methods". Microelectronics Failure Analysis: pp. 406-407, ASM International. ISBN 0-87170-804-3. 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Electron_beam_induced_current". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE