To develop new components, the semiconductor industry has to accurately characterize them both structurally and electronically. Conventional optical analysis techniques are principally suitable for investigating these properties, but their diffraction-limited spatial resolution is not sufficient for modern semiconductor structures. By contrast, laser microscopy, as scattering near-field optical microscopy (SNOM) with broadband lasers, is very well suited for corresponding analyzes. Fraunhofer ILT has developed a broadband tunable mid-infrared laser system that opens up new spectral ranges and can be used to investigate stresses in industrial gallium nitride, for example. Likewise, it can investigate doping concentrations or free charge carriers in different materials.
Nanocomposite materials can be studied with laser microscopy as can commercial consumer products, such as nanoparticle-added cosmetics. In addition to near field microscopy, the institute uses other technologies, including confocal laser scanning microscopy, multiphoton microscopy, fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) and polarization microscopy, as well as combinations of fluorescence and Raman microscopy.
The range of services Fraunhofer ILT offers includes feasibility studies, application-specific investigations with various microscopy methods, the development of laser-based processes, for example for material analysis, as well as individual consultation.