Nanoscale quantitative thermal imaging of electronic devices

Jianhua Zhou, Choongho Yu, Qing Hao, Dohyung Kim, Li Shi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


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 Bi 2Te3 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 builtin 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHeat Transfer
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)079183638X, 9780791836385
StatePublished - 2002

Publication series

NameASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Proceedings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


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