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SMM mode enables complex impedance

Posted: 16 Jul 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:scanning microwave microscopy  imaging technique  electrical measurement  performance network analyser 

Agilent Technologies Inc. announces the availability of scanning microwave microscopy (SMM) mode, a unique imaging technique that combines the comprehensive electrical measurement capabilities of a performance network analyser (PNA) with the outstanding spatial resolution of an atomic force microscope (AFM).

"SMM Mode outperforms traditional AFM-based scanning capacitance microscopy techniques, offering far greater application versatility, the ability to acquire quantitative results, and the highest sensitivity and dynamic range in the industry," said Jeff Jones, operations manager for Agilent's AFM facility in Chandler, Ariz.

The ability to provide calibrated, high-sensitivity, complex electrical and spatial measurements makes SMM Mode particularly useful for semiconductor test and characterisation. The new technique works on all semiconductors, including Si, Ge, III-V and II-VI, and does not require an oxide layer. SMM Mode enables complex impedance (resistance and reactance), calibrated capacitance, calibrated dopant density, and topography measurements. Operation at multiple frequencies—variable up to 6GHz—is supported.

As well as working on semiconductors, glasses, polymers, ceramics and metals, SMM Mode lets researchers perform high-sensitivity investigations of ferroelectric, dielectric and PZT materials. Studies of organic films, membranes and biological samples can also benefit from SMM Mode. The technique is very useful for characterisation of interfacial properties and contrast from molecular vibrational modes. Its exceptionally high sensitivity (1.2aF) is ideal for looking at ion channels.

SMM Mode is compatible with Agilent 5400 and Agilent 5600LS atomic force microscopes. The Agilent 5400 is a high-precision AFM optimised for research, whereas the Agilent 5600LS uses a fully addressable 200mm x 200mm stage for high-resolution imaging of large samples via a new, low-noise AFM design. SMM Mode uses Agilent's multipurpose, open-loop or closed-loop large scanner, which is capable of scanning areas up to 90?m x 90?m. Interchangeable scanner nose cones enable AFM users to switch imaging modes quickly and conveniently. A variety of robust, easy-to-use sample plates are offered to facilitate SMM Mode and non-SMM Mode experiments.

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