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Evaluating Pinhole Density in Thin Films

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000091821D
Original Publication Date: 1968-May-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-05
Document File: 1 page(s) / 11K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Roginsky, EF: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Thin films in the order of Angstrom units in thickness typically have the problem of containing pinholes through the thickness of the film. A method for testing the density of the pinholes in a thin film is to make a conductivity measurement with a nonwetting electrode and then to penetrate any pinholes in the thin film with an electrode of a deposited metal and make a conductivity measurement on that electrode. The following is the test method.

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Evaluating Pinhole Density in Thin Films

Thin films in the order of Angstrom units in thickness typically have the problem of containing pinholes through the thickness of the film. A method for testing the density of the pinholes in a thin film is to make a conductivity measurement with a nonwetting electrode and then to penetrate any pinholes in the thin film with an electrode of a deposited metal and make a conductivity measurement on that electrode. The following is the test method.

The conductance of the thin film is measured using a mercury probe. An electrode of any suitable metal such as aluminum or gold is deposited by any suitable method such as vacuum evaporation over the area that the conductance was just measured. The conductance using the deposited electrode is measured. The ratio of the first conductance measurement is compared with the second conductance measurement. If the ratio of conductance, electroded/conductance, by mercury probe, is a value greater than 1, the film can be suspected to contain pinholes. The exact quantitative amount can be correlated with data from copper plating techniques, i.e., if a sample has a ratio G, electroded/G, by mercury probe, 1 the density of copper plating per unit area gets larger as this ratio increases.

The technique can be used as a quick check for films suspected of containing pinholes. Ratios as high as 10 to 1 are obtained for silicon nitride films.

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