Consumer electronics, innovative quantum technologies, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications all rely on semiconductors where reliable characterisation of electrical properties at the nanoscale is essential for European innovation and competitiveness. The measurement of these properties allows the evaluation of critical parameters (e.g. dielectric constant) used to define the performance of electronic materials and components. Currently, Conductive Atomic Force Microscopes (C‑AFM) and Scanning Microwave Microscopes (SMM) enable nanoscale electrical characterisation but they are costly, complicated and, in many cases where they are used, unreliable as measurements are not traceable.
This project aims to make such measurements traceable for the first time, with stated uncertainties, and affordable by developing and testing cost effective instrumentation and the first “out of lab” reference standards from DC (mHz) to GHz. Robust calibration methods and good practice guides using simplified uncertainty budgets will underpin this effort.
Micro- and nano-electronics are considered by the European Commission (EC) a Key Enabling Technology (KET) with high potential for innovation throughout the economy, currently accounting for 10 % of EU Gross domestic product (GDP), and fostering highly skilled employment.
This project will develop and characterise cost effective instrumentation and easy to use reference standards, establish protocols and good practice guides, easily accessible 3D models and simplified uncertainty budgets for the conductive Atomic Force Microscopy (C-AFM) and Scanning Microwave Microscopy (SMM).