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Method Measures Heat of Thin-Film Semiconductors

Photonics Spectra
Feb 1999
With their complexity and materials changing, integrated circuits are generating more heat, creating a greater need to monitor that heat to improve efficiency and reliability. Researchers are measuring the thermal properties of various thin-film semiconducting materials, which differ significantly from the properties of bulk material.

A group led by Peter Raad, a professor of mechanical engineering at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, built a probing station that includes a microscope -- accurate to the submicron range -- and a series of fiber optic lasers. Wafers are heated by a laser pulsed for a few nanoseconds. A second laser probes the surface of the material to capture how it dissipates heat, helping researchers to determine the thin film's thermal properties using mathematical formulas.

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