College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

ME’s Wang receives funding to study film thickness

Mechanical engineering professor Xinwei Wang

Mechanical engineering professor Xinwei Wang recently received a $55,000 grant for a five-month research project entitled Spectorgraphic Thin Film Measurement Technology for Wafer Process Control.

“This project is to design a new technology for measuring the thickness of different films within a film stack,” said Wang. “Such structure is broadly used in power electronics fabrication, and the film thickness is a critical piece of data used to monitor and control the fabrication process. For the structure we will study, current technologies are unable to do the measurement due to a few facts: the film can be very thin like a few nanometers in thickness, and many films are transparent.”

The prime sponsor for the project is Defense MicroElectronics Activity, a center within the U.S. Department of Defense. Wang and his research team are also collaborating with Advanced Cooling Technologies, a thermal management solutions company. This research marks Phase I of the project and Wang said he will use preliminary data collected from this study when applying for the Phase II stage support.

“This project significantly extends the fields of mechanical engineering, and presents novel integration with physics and electrical engineering.  Also the technique we are developing will have great potential in other semiconductor industries,” Wang said.