Loughborough University
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Transient thermography for detection of micro-defects in multilayer thin films

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posted on 2017-05-30, 14:24 authored by Xiaoting Wang
Delamination and cracks within the multilayer structure are typical failure modes observed in microelectronic and micro electro mechanical system (MEMS) devices and packages. As destructive detection methods consume large numbers of devices during reliability tests, non-destructive techniques (NDT) are critical for measuring the size and position of internal defects throughout such tests. There are several established NDT methods; however, some of them have significant disadvantages for detecting defects within multilayer structures such as those found in MEMS devices. This thesis presents research into the application of transient infrared thermography as a non-destructive method for detecting and measuring internal defects, such as delamination and cracks, in the multilayer structure of MEMS devices. This technique works through the use of an infrared imaging system to map the changing temperature distribution over the surface of a target object following a sudden change in the boundary conditions, such as the application of a heat source to an external surface. It has previously been utilised in various applications, such as damage assessment in aerospace composites and verification of printed circuit board solder joint manufacture, but little research of its applicability to MEMS structures has previously been reported. In this work, the thermal behaviour of a multilayer structure containing defects was first numerically analysed. A multilayer structure was then successfully modelled using COMSOL finite element analysis (FEA) software with pulse heating on the bottom surface and observing the resulting time varying temperature distribution on the top. The optimum detecting conditions such as the pulse heating energy, pulse duration and heating method were determined and applied in the simulation. The influences of thermal properties of materials, physical dimensions of film, substrate and defect and other factors that will influence the surface temperature gradients were analytically evaluated. Furthermore, a functional relationship between the defect size and the resulting surface temperature was obtained to improve the accuracy of estimating the physical dimensions and location of the internal defect in detection. Corresponding experiments on specimens containing artificially created defects in macro-scale revealed the ability of the thermographic method to detect the internal defect. The precision of the established model was confirmed by contrasting the experimental results and numerical simulations.


Loughborough University.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


© Xiaoting Wang

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date



A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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