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Microscopic lock-in thermography investigation of leakage sites in integrated circuits

: Breitenstein, O.; Langenkamp, M.; Altmann, F.; Katzer, D.; Lindner, A.; Eggers, H.


Review of scientific instruments 71 (2000), Nr.11, S.4155-4160
ISSN: 0034-6748
ISSN: 1089-7623
Fraunhofer IWM ()

The detection limit of infrared thermographic investigations can be improved down to 10 µK by using a highly sensitive high-speed infrared camera in an online averaging lock-in thermography system. Together with a microscope objective, this allows lock-in thermography to be used as a simple and sensitive technique to localize the sites of leakage currents and other heat sources in electronic components. The practical realization of a novel lock-in thermography system is described and both test measurements and practical applications are introduced. The detection limit for surface-near local heat sources in silicon is a few microwatts with a spatial resolution down to 5 µm. Leakage sites in several microelectronic structures are imaged and assigned to the layout of the integrated circuit by comparing direct images with lock-in ones. The direct comparison of an averaged and background-subtracted stationary thermogram with a lock-in one, both measured under similar conditions at the same sample, clearly demonstrates the gain in information obtained by using lock-in thermography.