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Thermal Management a Hot Topic in Microelectronic Devices

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Artist rendering of plasmon energy expansion thermometry.

Researchers have announced a breakthrough in accurate measurement of temperature at the scale of individual microelectronic devices.

Credit: USC CEMMA and UCLA Regan Group

Researchers in Los Angeles say they have achieved a breakthrough in the effort to accurately measure temperature at the scale of individual microelectronic devices.

The University of Southern California's (USC) Matthew Mecklenburg and the University of California, Los Angeles' Chris Regan have devised a new technique for effectively measuring the temperatures within a transistor. Called Plasmon Energy Expansion Thermometry (PEET), the approach measures the expansion of materials already contained in the device.

Mecklenburg and Regan have demonstrated PEET on aluminum, which has a relatively large thermal expansion. Their team has used a transmission electron microscope and electron energy loss spectroscopy to quantify the energy of aluminum plasmons, or charge oscillations, and precisely determine their temperature with nanometer-scale resolution.

The researchers now plan to apply the technique to other materials, including silicon. "Measurements of temperatures hidden inside a device will enable better thermal management, which means faster transistors and lower power consumption: your cell phone will hold its charge longer," Mecklenburg says.

From USC News
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