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Thermally-induced voltage alteration for analysis of microelectromechanical devices

United States Patent

June 18, 2002
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
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A thermally-induced voltage alteration (TIVA) apparatus and method are disclosed for analyzing a microelectromechanical (MEM) device with or without on-board integrated circuitry. One embodiment of the TIVA apparatus uses constant-current biasing of the MEM device while scanning a focused laser beam over electrically-active members therein to produce localized heating which alters the power demand of the MEM device and thereby changes the voltage of the constant-current source. This changing voltage of the constant-current source can be measured and used in combination with the position of the focused and scanned laser beam to generate an image of any short-circuit defects in the MEM device (e.g. due to stiction or fabrication defects). In another embodiment of the TIVA apparatus, an image can be generated directly from a thermoelectric potential produced by localized laser heating at the location of any short-circuit defects in the MEM device, without any need for supplying power to the MEM device. The TIVA apparatus can be formed, in part, from a scanning optical microscope, and has applications for qualification testing or failure analysis of MEM devices.
Walraven; Jeremy A. (Albuquerque, NM), Cole, Jr.; Edward I. (Albuquerque, NM)
Sandia Corporation (Albuquerque, NM)
09/ 596,858
June 19, 2000
GOVERNMENT RIGHTS This invention was made with Government support under Contract No. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.