Infrared cameras have been traditionally used in semiconductor industry for noncontact measurements of printed circuit boards (PCBs) local overheating. While an effective way to prevent defective PCB application in a “find-problems-before-your-customer-do” manner, this conventional static (25–50 frames/s) and small spatial resolution (>100 μm) approach is incapable, in principle, of explaining the physical reason for the PCB failure. What follows in this report is the demonstration of an IR camera based new approach in high-resolution dynamic study of electron processes responsible for single device performance. More specifically, time resolved two-dimensional visualization of current carrier drift and diffusion processes across the device base that happen in microsecond scale is of prime concern in the work. Thus, contrary to the conventional visualization-through-heating measurements, objective is mapping of electron processes in a device base through negative and positive luminescence (provoked by band-to-band electron transitions) and nonequilibrium thermal emission (provoked by intraband electron transitions) studies inside the region in which current flows. Therefore, the parameters of interest are not only a device thermal mass and thermal conductance, but also free carrier lifetime, surface recombination velocity, diffusion length, and contact properties. The micro-mapping system developed consists of reflective type IR microscope coaxially attached to calibrated scanning IR thermal imaging cameras (3–5 and 8–12 μm spectral ranges, HgCdTe cooled photodetectors, scene spatial resolution of some 20 μm, minimum time resolved interval of 10 μs, and temperature resolution of about 0.5 °C at 30 °C). Data acquisition and image processing (emissivity equalization, noise reduction by image averaging, and external triggering) are computer controlled. Parallel video channel equipped with a CCD camera permits easy positioning and focusing of <1×1 mm2 object along the system optical axis. To motivate this diagnostics superiority, small area light emitting diodes and stripe lasers, light and microwave modulators, thermoelectric generators, and coolers were tested with respect to impact made on visualizing of uniformity of current and heat flows, as well as their divergence in space and time.

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