Thermo x-ray detector options provide thin film analysis

May 19, 2005, Madison, WI--Thermo Electron is offering new X-ray detector options for its MicroXRT line of microbeam X-ray fluorescence metrology systems, enabling a unique level of analysis for thin film applications in the semiconductor and microelectronics industries.

Microbeam XRF combines a technique known for non-destructive, multi-element measurements, Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (EDXRF) spectroscopy,
with focusing optics to create a tool designed specifically for thin metallic film metrology. Used to characterize wafers, leadframes, solder bumps, ball-grid arrays and many other multi-layer metal film stacks found in the integrated circuit fabrication, as well as magnetic read/write heads, disk media and suspension assemblies in the data storage industry, Microbeam XRF is presently finding new applications in several more industries involved in metallizations, depositions, and metallic coatings such as sensors and detectors, MEMS devices and opto-telecommunication equipment.

Recently Thermo announced the release of new and redesigned solid-state X-ray detectors, expanding the capabilities of this versatile metrology tool. All detectors eliminate the need for liquid nitrogen cooling typically associated with solid state X-ray detection, enabling maintenance-free, quick start-up and shut-down operations.

Thermo's solid state silicon-lithium or Si(Li) detector provides high resolution and a high degree of sensitivity for very thin film applications. Si(Li) detectors also extend the energy range for measurements of heavier elements (up to 29 keV). With a 10 mm active detector area, Si(Li) detectors enable tighter geometries and large solid angles resulting in improved detection limits of trace materials.

A relatively new, but proven technology in X-ray detection, Thermo's solid state silicon drift detectors are ideal for high count-rate/high throughput applications. This provides shorter measurement times, ten times better count rate statistics, and better precision.

For measurements that require ultimate resolution and sensitivity, Thermo provides a patented Vacuum ConduitT option for Microbeam XRF. This method eliminates the time-consuming process of evacuating the sample chamber for each sample. It exerts vacuum conditions on the X-ray beam generation and detection paths, leaving the sample environment in atmosphere.

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