Micro- and nanotechnology relies on characterisation tools that allow verfication of all stages of the processes. Any size of feature, ranging from visible by the naked eye down to sometimes a few nanometers, must be covered by the available range of characterization tools.
The Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) is a key instrument for visualizing microstructures. Using electrons instead of light, it generates a similar type of visual images that an optical microscope produces. In this way, the limiting factor of the resolution of an optical microscope, the diffraction limit of visible light, is bypassed thus producing one of the most flexible and indispensable characterisation tools available.
DTU Danchip operates three SEMs. The SEM on the picture was delivered in 2007 by FEI. This SEM offers a very high resolution, which is required as device features continue to shrink in size. Furthermore it has been chosen because of its capabilities for characterizing polymers. This material group is more and more intensively used and is rather challenging to characterize since dielectrica have a tendency to accumulate the charge provided by the continous stream of electrons from the electron beam. This "charging-up" effect prevents clear picture formation.
The above mentioned FEI SEM is located in DTU Danchip's cleanroom and equiped with an Energy Dispersive X-ray analyzer (EDX). The EDX, visible in the picture, utilizes the X-rays that are generated in the interaction between the sample and the beam of electrons to analyze the distribution and composition of elements on the sample surface.
Besides of a number optical microscopes and profilometers, there are many other pieces of characterisation equipment available at DTU Danchip, one of them beíng the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). See our full list of characterisation equipment.