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Radio frequency coupling apparatus and method for measuring minority carrier lifetimes in semiconductor materials

United States Patent

April 9, 2002
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
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An apparatus for measuring the minority carrier lifetime of a semiconductor sample using radio-frequency coupling. The measuring apparatus includes an antenna that is positioned a coupling distance from a semiconductor sample which is exposed to light pulses from a laser during sampling operations. A signal generator is included to generate high frequency, such as 900 MHz or higher, sinusoidal waveform signals that are split into a reference signal and a sample signal. The sample signal is transmitted into a sample branch circuit where it passes through a tuning capacitor and a coaxial cable prior to reaching the antenna. The antenna is radio-frequency coupled with the adjacent sample and transmits the sample signal, or electromagnetic radiation corresponding to the sample signal, to the sample and receives reflected power or a sample-coupled-photoconductivity signal back. To lower impedance and speed system response, the impedance is controlled by limiting impedance in the coaxial cable and the antenna reactance. In one embodiment, the antenna is a waveguide/aperture hybrid antenna having a central transmission line and an adjacent ground flange. The sample-coupled-photoconductivity signal is then transmitted to a mixer which also receives the reference signal. To enhance the sensitivity of the measuring apparatus, the mixer is operated to phase match the reference signal and the sample-coupled-photoconductivity signal.
Johnston; Steven W. (Golden, CO), Ahrenkiel; Richard K. (Lakewood, CO)
Midwest Research Institute (Kansas City, MO)
09/ 615,960
July 14, 2000
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION The United States Government has rights in this invention under Contract No. DE-AC36-99GO10337 between the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a Division of Midwest Research Institute.