Document Type



Master of Science


Electrical Engineering

First Adviser

James C. Hwang


In this work, we systematically studied and introduced both AFM-based and STM-based scanning microwave microscopy. CMOS interconnects, single dried cell and organelles like exosomes have been imaged with scanning microwave microscopy.

The scanning microwave microscopy of CMOS interconnect aluminum lines both bare and buried under oxide has been achieved. In both cases, a spatial resolution of 190 +- 70 nm was achieved, which was comparable or better than what had been reported in the literature. With the lines immersed in water to simulate high-k dielectric, the signal-to-noise ratio degraded significantly, but the image remained as sharp as before, especially after averaging across a few adjacent scans. These results imply that scanning microwave microscopy can be a promising technique for non-destructive nano-characterization of both CMOS interconnects buried under oxide and live biological samples immersed in water.

Time-domain techniques were introduced and applied on scanning microwave microscopy to improve image quality and signal-to-noise ratio. By transforming the frequency-domain data to the time domain with optimum time gating, exosome images of higher contrast and resolution were obtained by using SMM than by using STM or atomic force microscopy (AFM).

Moreover, the thesis presents a preliminary quantitative characterization protocol. The broadband full-wave simulation in RF domain was presented in both air and liquid environment, which could be adopted to evolve the novel calibration algorithm for future SMM applications.