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High resolution thermal imaging of integrated circuits

Due to increasing integration densities and working frequencies, thermal management is a crucial issue in integrated circuits and opto-electronic components, where very high temperatures can be reached in nanometer-scale regions, which Infrared-based imaging cannot characterize with sufficient spatial resolutions.

We have developed several systems based on visible illumination CCD thermoreflectance which are able to measure very small variations of the reflectivity (down to R/R=10-5), with diffraction-limited spatial resolution, around 300 nm in the visible. Since the reflectivity of most materials is temperature-dependent, thermal images can therefore be obtained at high spatial resolutions and temperature sensitivities of the order of 0.1 K. These systems can deliver thermal images of electronic or optoelectronic devices working at high frequencies (1 GHz), with a good time resolution (in the ns range), over a broad range of wavelengths, from the near IR to the UV.

From left to right : high resolution thermal image of an integrated resistor. Array of integrated transistors : visible image, thermal image, and detail of the local overheating in a single defective transistor. The spatial resolution of these thermal images is 340 nm.