Thin Film Characterization

Thin solid films have matured into indispensable constituents of basically every state-of-the-art integrated circuit (IC), printed circuit board (PCB), and micro-/nanoelectromechanical system (MEMS/NEMS). Consequently, accurate knowledge of their physical material properties is mandatory for the design, optimization, and characterization of such devices. However, material properties of thin films like Young's modulus or thermal conductivity typically depend on the utilized production process and often differ considerably from those of their well-known bulk counterparts. At present, it is impossible to predict the physical parameters of a fabricated thin film for an entire manufacturing sequence exclusively by theory. Derzeit ist es unmöglich die physikalischen Eigenschaften von Dünnschichtfilmen, die durch eine mikrotechnologische Prozesssequenz hergestellt wurden, im Vorfeld theoretisch zu berechnen.


Based on custom-designed and fabricated test specimens, measurement setups, and model-based parameter determination, the DISS is able to accurately determine


  • thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity, and spectral emissivity,
  • Young's modulus and intrinsic residual stress,
  • selected stiffness tensor components,
  • piezoelectric tensor components


of almost any thin film structure fabricated by micro- and nanomachining production processes.


In their latest research activities, DISS focuses on the efficient characterization of the physical parameters of nanofilms deposited on silicon wafers. Novel AFSEMTM-based measurement methods are developed for highly accurate in vivo (i.e. directly at wafer level) measurements of thermal, piezoelectric, elastomechanical, and magnetoelectric parameters of nanofilms for the first time.

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