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Nanoscale Quantitative Thermal Imaging of Electronic Devices

[+] Author Affiliations
Jianhua Zhou, Choongho Yu, Qing Hao, Dohyung Kim, Li Shi

University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

Paper No. IMECE2002-32112, pp. 23-29; 7 pages
  • ASME 2002 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Heat Transfer, Volume 7
  • New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, November 17–22, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: Heat Transfer Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3638-X | eISBN: 0-7918-1691-5, 0-7918-1692-3, 0-7918-1693-1
  • Copyright © 2002 by ASME


This paper investigates a new method for quantitative nanoscale thermal imaging of electronic devices. Different from previous works that utilized a thermal sensor fabricated on a scanning probe to obtain surface thermal images, the current approach employs a tunneling thermocouple made of a metal tip and an ultra-thin metal film deposited on the sample surface. The metal tip has a negligible Seebeck coefficient; while the metal film can be Bi2 Te3 or a semiconducting polymer that has very high Seebeck coefficient and low thermal conductivity. Unlike the probe with a built-in thermal sensor, the measured thermoelectric voltage by the tunneling thermocouple is not affected by the tip-sample contact thermal resistance and air conduction, allowing quantitative temperature measurement with a spatial resolution limited by the metal film thickness, which can be 10–20 nm. We have tested the new approach using Ir or Pt-Ir -coated atomic force microscope (AFM) tips to obtain the surface temperature profiles of interconnect structures coated with a thin Cr film. The measured surface temperature gradient is larger and the maximum measured temperature is 60% higher than the corresponding values obtained by a thermal probe with a built-in thermocouple fabricated at the tip end. The two thermal imaging methods are currently being used to measure temperature distribution on the cross section of a 130 nm-technology silicon-on-insulator field-effect transistor.

Copyright © 2002 by ASME



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