Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Terahertz Waves Are Effective Probes For Integrated Circuit Heat Barriers

Date:
May 12, 2009
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Summary:
By modifying a commonly used commercial infrared spectrometer to allow operation at long-wave terahertz frequencies, researchers discovered an efficient new approach to measure key structural properties of nanoscale metal-oxide films used in high-speed integrated circuits.

By modifying a commonly used commercial infrared spectrometer to allow operation at long-wave terahertz frequencies, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) discovered an efficient new approach to measure key structural properties of nanoscale metal-oxide films used in high-speed integrated circuits.

Their technique, described in a recent paper, could become an important quality-control tool to help monitor semiconductor manufacturing processes and evaluate new insulating materials.

Chip manufacturers deposit complicated mazes of layered metallic conductor and semiconconductor films interlaced with insulating metal oxide nanofilms to form transistors and conduct heat. Because high electrical leakage and excess heat can cause nanoscale devices to operate inefficiently or fail, manufacturers need to know the dielectric and mechanical properties of these nanofilms to predict how well they will perform in smaller, faster devices.

Manufacturers typically assay the structure of metal oxide films using X-ray spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy, both tedious and time-consuming processes. NIST researchers discovered that they could extract comparable levels of detail about the structural characteristics of these thin films by measuring their absorption of terahertz radiation, which falls between the infrared and microwave spectral regions.

Although terahertz spectroscopy is known to be very sensitive to crystal and molecular structure, the degree to which the metal oxide films absorbed the terahertz light was a surprise to NIST researchers.

“No one thought nanometer-thick films could be detected at all using terahertz spectroscopy, and I expected that the radiation would pass right through them,” says Ted Heilweil, a NIST chemist and co-author of the paper. “Contrary to these expectations, the signals we observed were huge.”

The NIST team found that the atoms in the films they tested move in concert and absorb specific frequencies of terahertz radiation corresponding to those motions. From these absorbed frequencies the team was able to extrapolate detailed information about the crystalline and amorphous composition of the metal oxide films, replete with structures that could affect their function.

The team’s experiments showed that a 40 nanometer thick hafnium oxide film grown at 581 kelvin (307 degrees Celsius) had an amorphous structure with crystalline regions spread throughout; nanofilms grown at lower temperatures, however, were consistently amorphous. According to Heilweil, an approximately 5 nanometer film thickness is the detection limit of the terahertz method, and the efficacy of the technique depends to some degree on the type of metal oxide, though the group noted that all metal-oxide materials surveyed exhibit distinct spectral characteristics.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Heilweil et al. Characterization of metal oxide nanofilm morphologies and composition by terahertz transmission spectroscopy. Optics Letters, 2009; 34 (9): 1360 DOI: 10.1364/OL.34.001360

Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology. "Terahertz Waves Are Effective Probes For Integrated Circuit Heat Barriers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090508135005.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology. (2009, May 12). Terahertz Waves Are Effective Probes For Integrated Circuit Heat Barriers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090508135005.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology. "Terahertz Waves Are Effective Probes For Integrated Circuit Heat Barriers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090508135005.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) An electric car that proponents hope will replace horse-drawn carriages in New York City has also been revealed at the auto show. (Apr. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

AFP (Apr. 17, 2014) It walks and runs, even up and down stairs. It can open a bottle and serve a drink, and politely tries to shake hands with a stranger. Meet the latest ASIMO, Honda's humanoid robot. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) German researchers have used a fake fingerprint made from glue to bypass the fingerprint security system on Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins