RESEARCH PAPERS: Analytical and Experimental Techniques

Nanoscale Temperature Distributions Measured by Scanning Joule Expansion Microscopy

[+] Author and Article Information
A. Majumdar

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720

J. Varesi

Department of Mechanical and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106

J. Heat Transfer 120(2), 297-305 (May 01, 1998) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2824245 History: Received August 18, 1997; Revised February 02, 1998; Online December 05, 2007


This paper introduces scanning Joule expansion microscopy (SJEM), which is a new thermal imaging technique with lateral resolution in the range of 10–50 nm. Based on the atomic force microscope (AFM), SJEM measures the thermal expansion of Joule-heated elements with a vertical resolution of 1 pm, and provides an expansion map of the scanned sample. Sunmicron metal interconnect lines as well as 50-nm-sized single grains of an indium tin oxide resistor were images using SJEM. Since the local expansion signal is a convolution of local material properties, sample height, and as temperature rise, extraction of the thermal image requires deconvolution. This was experimentally achieved by coating the sample with a uniformly thick polymer film, resulting in direct measurement of the sample temperature distribution. A detailed thermal analysis of the metal wire and the substrate showed that the predicted temperature distribution was in good agreement with the measurements of the polymer-coated sample. However, the frequency response of the expansion signal agreed with theoretical predictions only below 30 KHZ, suggesting that contilever dynamics may play a significant role at higher frequencies. The major advantage of SJEM over previously developed submicron thermal imaging techniques is that it eliminates the need to nanofabricate specialized probes and requires only a standard AFM and simple electronics.

Copyright © 1998 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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