Pulse-probe microscopy is a form of imaging used to examine the properties of a material. The technique is used in fields as diverse as medicine and art restoration, but is notably prominent in semiconductor development. When Pennsylvania State University doctoral student Disha Talreja needed to create a micron-precise moving platform for a pulse-probe experiment, she selected New Way® Air Bushings for the job.
A pulse-probe experiment functions by firing two laser pulses at the object. The first is a higher-amplitude “pump” pulse which excites the material. The second is a lower-amplitude “probe” pulse, and the recorded result of this pulse’s interaction with the excited material allows data to be collected. To gain a fuller picture of the properties of a given material over time, the interval between the pump and probe pulses can be extended. This is done by increasing the distance the probe pulse travels using mirrors mounted to a moving platform known as a delay stage.
This system is extremely useful to the semiconductor industry for its use in time-domain thermoreflectance, a system by which the thermal and, therefore, conductive properties of very thin materials can be determined. As a result, effective and precise testing equipment is vital to developing better materials for “high heat-generating devices such as solid-state lasers and chips in integrated circuits,” according to Talreja in her thesis.
However, the accurate measurement of thermal transport in a material is only possible with a micron-accurate delay stage. This is where the air bearings come in.
In order to achieve sufficient control over the probe pulse interval, the delay stage needed to achieve ultra-resolved linear motion. To ensure this fidelity, Talreja selected a Porous Media™ air bearing system. She gave her reasoning for this selection “over conventional contact roller bearings for this system to eliminate the various disadvantages associated with the latter such as high friction, wear, and oil lubrication handling.”
The nanometers-thick stiff cushion of air not only negates the need for lubrication, but actually protects the system against contamination, providing a more durable setup for extended experiments.
The system consists of a mounting plate floating on four air bushings, secured to the plate via pillow blocks. The bearings ride on two shafts, which are secured by end mounts. Although Talreja’s setup was constructed from “different products from different companies,” New Way offers a comprehensive line on mounting components, including shafts and end mounts in standard sizes and designed to be compatible with New Way Air Bushing product line.
According to Talreja, this configuration using air bearings over conventional allows for “straighter motion of the stage with higher speed and acceleration, better resolution, and repeatability in addition to a smoother, cleaner, and more durable operation of the stage.” This praise speaks to the power of air bearings to provide not only benefits in the realm of precision, but also ruggedness and crash resistance.
Join the Air Bearing Movement!
New Way’s Porous Media Technology™ offers unprecedented opportunities for the field of semiconductor testing, both in academic materials science research and in industry labs. Join Disha Talreja in discovering the awesome capabilities of New Way air bearings to develop tomorrow’s technology.
Contact us today to find out how air bearings can improve your application and experience the incredible benefits of Frictionless Motion.