Aerosol deposition process used to develop smallest fibre-optic electric field probe

(Nanowerk News) NEC Corporation announced the successful development of the world's smallest fiber-optic electric field probe, enabled through the adoption of a nanotechnology process. The newly developed probe consists of an optical fiber and an electro-optical film that is formed at its edge, which acts as a field sensor. As its lateral size of approximately 125 µm is equivalent to that of the diameter of an optical fiber, the probe can be inserted into narrow spaces such as the crevice between a ball grid array (BGA) LSI package and a printed circuit board (200 - 300 µm), enabling evaluation of the electrical characteristics of high-density packaged electronic circuits on printed circuit boards. It can therefore be utilized to create electrical designs for high-density electronic packages toward the realization of low-noise/low-electromagnetic interference level circuits.
The new probe was created based on a nanotechnology process referred to as aerosol deposition (AD), which was developed by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan. This process involves a recently developed ceramics film formation technology, which can directly deposit complex oxide films that consist of nano-particles on any kind of substrate material. By adopting the AD method for electro-optical film deposition, which consists of the formation of the electric field sensor onto an optical fiber edge surface, for the first time NEC was able to develop the world's first film processing techniques for precise sensing of electric fields.
The development of this tiny probe signifies a breakthrough in the creation of optimal package design as it enables evaluation of electrical characteristics in packaging regions that could never before be reached such as near the solder ball of a BGA package, or the space among different chips in a system in package. It contributes to the creation of optimal design as increased information vital to this can be obtained from timely circuit performance evaluation, failure diagnosis, production inspection and design checks.
This research was partially supported by a New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) project, Nano Structure Forming for Advanced Ceramic Integration Technology, within the Japan Nanotechnology Program, and was exhibited at the International Nanotechnology Exhibition & Conference, which was held at Tokyo Big Sight, Japan from February 21 to 23, 2006.
Source: NEC