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    Micro-CT of an Electronic Organic Resistor

    Semiconductor and electronics manufacturers are continually introducing new processing technologies and materials in order to make devices smaller, faster, cheaper, and more efficient. With decreasing length scales and the challenges of introducing new materials, new characterization techniques are required to develop next-generation materials and validate new processes. Micro-CT is well suited for examination of organic electronic devices, particularly for product development, failure analysis, and as an alternative to destructive sampling of these types of components.

    Innovative design tools and processing methods are broadening the range of applications for organic electronic devices, including organic resistors. For our study this month, we utilized our SkyScan 1272 high resolution desktop micro-CT to examine an organic electronic resistor.

    Figure 2: Volumetric rendering of pores highlighted in red within the organic layer


    Figure 3: Mounted organic resistor imaged for this study

    Micro-CT Scan of an Organic Resistor

    Our micro-CT examination of an organic composition style electronic resistor allows us to investigate the conductive particles distributed throughout the matrix. As can be seen in Figure 1, the organic resistive material is sandwiched between two metal cups affixed to axial wire leads and the entire assembly is coated in a low density film.

    The normal function of the resistor lies in controlling the flow of electrons through circuits. By using an organic material, most commonly carbon with other conductive particles, engineers can carefully tailor the electronic transport properties of the device to meet specified values within acceptable tolerances. Over time with regular use, resistors may degrade in function and these changes may be possible to monitor through micro-CT examination. In this case, we examined a new resistor to look at the prevalence of voids within the packed organic layer.

    During the manufacturing process, voids may form in the organic layer if the manufacturing conditions or materials are not optimized. Voids in the fill will affect the performance of the device and therefore warrant study. As can be seen in Figure 2, there are relatively few pores throughout the organic layer with most near the top or bottom of the organic cylinder. The total porosity was calculated to be 0.01% for this sample and no clear pattern of pore formation is observed.

    In reviewing the porosity data in greater detail, we see that the pore size distribution is narrow with most pores on the order of 5-15 micrometers in diameter. Less than 10% of the total pores identified have a diameter exceeding this value and no pores were observed with a diameter exceeding 25 micrometers.

    Figure 4: Calculated pore diameter ranges based on total pore volume


    Micro-CT is particularly useful in electronics manufacturing, especially for product development, manufacturing optimization, and failure analysis. We hope you found this Image of the Month informative. If you have an Image of the Month sample that you would like us to scan, please contact us by calling Seth Hogg at 610-366-7103 or e-mailing

    Scan Specifications

    Sample Resistor
    Voltage (kV) 100
    Current (µA) 100
    Pixel Size (µm) 5
    Rotation Step 0.25
    Scan Time (HH:MM:SS) 05:31:55

    This scan was completed on our high resolution desktop SkyScan 1272 system at the Micro Photonics Imaging Laboratory in Allentown, PA. Reconstructions were completed using NRecon and visualization of 2D and 3D results were completed using DataViewer and CTVox.



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