Ada Genavia
Apr 13, 2012

Magnetic test technique helps ensure reliability of microelectronics, PV cells & MEMS

Taking advantage of the force generated by magnetic repulsion, researchers at Georgia Tech have developed a new technique for measuring the adhesion strength between thin films of materials used in microelectronic devices, photovoltaic cells and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). The fixtureless and noncontact technique, known as the magnetically actuated peel test (MAPT), could help ensure the long-term reliability of electronic devices, and assist designers in improving resistance to thermal and mechanical stresses. Sitaraman and doctoral student Gregory Ostrowicki have used their technique to measure the adhesion strength between layers of copper conductor and silicon dioxide insulator. They also plan to use it to study fatigue cycling failure, which occurs over time as the interface between layers is repeatedly placed under stress. The technique may also be used to study adhesion between layers in photovoltaic systems and in MEMS devices.