Terahertz Waves for Quality Control

May 14, 2009

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have created a technique that uses terahertz waves to measure structural properties in integrated circuits.

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have created a technique that uses terahertz waves to measure structural properties in integrated circuits.

The technique is a new approach to measuring key properties of nanoscale metal-oxide films used in high-speed integrated circuits. This could become an effective quality-control tool in semiconductor manufacturing processes and the evaluation of new metal oxide nanofilm insulating materials.

Manufacturers typically use X-ray spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy to evaluate metal oxide films, but both methods are time consuming. The NIST researchers discovered that they could obtain comparable details about the structural characteristics of the thin films by measuring their absorption of terahertz radiation.