The 2,467th Meeting of the Society

November 18, 2022 at 8:00 PM

Powell Auditorium at the Cosmos Club

Chip Scan: 3D X-Ray Imaging of CMOS Integrated Circuits

Can you trust the electronics you use?

Anthony F.J. Levi

Professor and Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering -- Electrophysics
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Southern California

Sponsored by PSW Science Member Adarsh Deepak

About the Lecture

New developments in state-of-the-art ptychographic x-ray laminography microscopy can be used to verify that the most sophisticated integrated circuits and other critical electronic components have been manufactured according to customer design. In principle, billions of CMOS transistors and their metal interconnects can be imaged in three dimensions using this chip-scan technique. The method, which makes use of coherent x-rays, allows reinspection of areas of interest at different levels of resolution. Not only is this of potential interest for non-destructive reverse engineering of integrated circuits, metrology, identification of manufacturing defects and counterfeit products, but it also enables a path to a certified trust service to ensure integrated circuits are manufactured as specified.

Selected Reading & Media References
(1) The x-ray technology that reveals chip designs, A. F. J. Levi and G. Aeppli, IEEE Spectrum, April 30, 2022,
(2) Three-dimensional imaging of integrated circuits with macro- to nanoscale zoom, M. Holler, et al., Nature Electronics 2, 464-470 (2019).

About the Speaker

Anthony F. J. Levi (Tony) is Professor and Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering – Electrophysics in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
at the University of Southern California, where he has been on the faculty for almost 30 years. Before joining the USC faculty he was with AT&T Bell Laboratories for ten years.

Tony invented hot electron spectroscopy, discovered ballistic electron transport in heterostructure bipolar transistors, demonstrated room temperature operation of unipolar transistors with ballistic electron transport, created the first microdisk laser, and carried out work in parallel fiber optic interconnect components in computer and switching systems.

His current research interests include device physics at the classical-quantum boundary, system engineering and integration, high-performance electronics and optimization in system design, RF photonics, very small lasers and modeling their behavior, optimal design of small electronic and photonic systems, and coherent control of transient dynamics.

Tony is an author on numerous technical publications and five texts: Applied Quantum Mechanics; Essential Classical Mechanics for Device Physics; Essential Semiconductor Laser Device Physics; and Essential Electron Transport for Device Physics. He also is the coeditor of the book Optimal Device Design and of several chapters in other technical books. And he is an inventor in 17 US patents.

Tony earned his BSc at the University of Sussex and his PhD in Physics at the University of Cambridge.