Dr. Bernd Gotsmann
IBM Zürich / Microscopy


Measuring temperature on the nanoscale


Nanoscale hotspots appear in many devices and integrated circuits and can be used to modify the local properties of matter, control physical processes, and trigger chemical reactions. However, measuring temperature is a central challenge in both nanoscience and technology. Based on recent advances in sensitivity and spatial resolution, nanoscale hotspots can now be studied in detail using scanning thermal microscopy. We describe the development of a high-vacuum scanning thermal microscope and a method for nanoscale thermometry. For this, artifacts caused by the unknown interaction of the probing tip with the sample are minimized, which previously have limited the reliability of nanoscale temperature measurements by scanning thermal microscopy. We have successfully applied the technique to a range of operating devices for logic, storage and spintronics with sub-10 nm spatial and sub-10 mK temperature resolution. The extracted temperature fields allow us to characterize local thermo-physical effects in operating nanoscale devices and help us to identify device failure and fabrication issues.


Bernd Gotsmann is a Research Staff Member in the Nanoscale Devices & Materials group of the Science & Technology department at IBM Research – Zurich. His research is focused on nanoscale electronics with applications in thermal transport, thermoelectricity, tribology, molecular electronics and nanomechanics. Bernd Gotsmann studied Physics at the University of Muenster, Germany, and the University of York, UK. After receiving his PhD he joined IBM in 2001 as a postdoctoral fellow and became a Research Staff Member in 2006.