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HIGH SPEED, NON-CONTACT IC PROBES USING FLUORESCENT NANOPARTICLES

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000005344D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Aug-23
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2001-Aug-23
Document File: 4 page(s) / 85K

Publishing Venue

Motorola

Related People

James E. Mitzlaff: AUTHOR

Abstract

Silicon particles of nanometer scale dimensions are known to fluoresce brightly when excited by single UV or multiple IR photons. Being made of semiconductor material, it is possible that the fluorescence characteristics of these "nanoparticles" will be altered in the presence of electric (or magnetic) fields, in particular the strong micrometer scale fields encountered in RF power transistors and in very fine lithography ICs. In fact, a strong electric field dependence has been observed in the absorption of IR photons in certain semiconductors. This should translate directly to a change in fluorescent emission when multiple IR photons are used as the excitation source. The ability to measure very high speed waveforms would come from the ability to illuminate these nanoparticles with a sequence of very short (picosecond time scale) laser pulses, thus producing the optical equivalent of a sampling oscilloscope

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Title

HIGH SPEED, NON-CONTACT IC PROBES USING FLUORESCENT NANOPARTICLES

Author

James E. Mitzlaff

Abstract

Silicon particles of nanometer scale dimensions are known to fluoresce brightly when excited by single UV or multiple IR photons. Being made of semiconductor material, it is possible that the fluorescence characteristics of these "nanoparticles" will be altered in the presence of electric (or magnetic) fields, in particular the strong micrometer scale fields encountered in RF power transistors and in very fine lithography ICs. In fact, a strong electric field dependence has been observed in the absorption of IR photons in certain semiconductors. This should translate directly to a change in fluorescent emission when multiple IR photons are used as the excitation source. The ability to measure very high speed waveforms would come from the ability to illuminate these nanoparticles with a sequence of very short (picosecond time scale) laser pulses, thus producing the optical equivalent of a sampling oscilloscope.

Body

Measuring voltage waveforms between metal traces on a printed circuit board is one of the principal tools used to diagnose problems when a board malfunctions. Providing a similar capability for integrated circuits (ICs) and RF power devices should be equally desirable, but is hampered by the extreme difficulty in physically probing device traces having micrometer scale features, and having signals in the GHz frequency range. What is desired is a non-contact means for measuring these voltage waveforms, or the corresponding electric field strengths.

Silicon particles of nanometer (nm) scale dimensions are known to fluoresce brightly when excited by single UV or multiple IR photons [1]. Being made of semiconductor material, it is possible that the fluorescence characteristics of these "nanoparticles" will be altered in the presence of electric (or magnetic) fields, in particular the strong micrometer scale fields encountered in RF power transistors and in very fine lithography ICs. In fact, a strong electric field dependence has been observed in the absorption of IR photons in certain semiconductors [2]. This should translate directly to a change in fluorescent emission when multiple IR photons are used as the excitation source.

The ability to measure very high speed waveforms would come from the ability to illuminate these nanoparticles with a sequence of very short (picosecond time scale) laser pulses, thus producing the optical equivalent of a sampling oscilloscope. The resulting emission pulses would be detected by a high speed photodetector which is preceded by an optical filter tuned to the nanoparticle emission frequency. This setup could be used to directly measure variations in emission amplitude. It could also be used to indirectly measure variations in emission wavelength by "slope detecting" on the skirt of the optical filter. An ...