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Tension in the nanoworld
Date:1/23/2009

mond tip into the surface of a Silicon Carbide crystal. With the near-field microscope the researchers were able to visualize the nanoscopic strain field around the depression and the generation of nanocracks. "Compared to other methods such as electron microscopy, the technique offers the advantage of non-invasive imaging without the need of special sample preparation" says Andreas Huber who performed the experiments as part of his Ph.D. project. "Specific applications of technological interest could be the detection of nanocracks before they reach critical dimensions, e.g. in ceramics or Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS), and the study of crack propagation", says Alexander Ziegler.

The researchers also demonstrated that s-SNOM offers the intriguing possibility of mapping free-carrier properties such as density and mobility in strained silicon. By controlled straining of silicon, the properties of the free carriers can be designed, which is essential to further shrink and speed-up future computer chips. For both development and quality control, the quantitative and reliable mapping of the carrier mobility is strongly demanded but until now no tool has been available. "Our results promise interesting applications of s-SNOM in semiconductor science and technology such as the quantitative analysis of the local carrier properties in strain-engineered electronic nanodevices" says Rainer Hillenbrand, leader of the Nano-Photonics Group at MPI and the Nanooptics Laboratory at nanoGUNE.


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Contact: Dr. Rainer Hillenbrand
r.hillenbrand@nanogune.eu
34-943-574-007
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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