Scanning thermal probe microscope method for the determination of thermal diffusivity of nanocomposite thin films
A commercial scanning thermal microscope has been upgraded to facilitate its use in estimating the radial thermal diffusivity of thin films close to room temperature. The modified setup includes a microcontroller driven microhotplate coupled with a Bluetooth module for wireless control. The microcontroller board (Arduino Leonardo) is used to generate a bias of suitable voltage amplitude and pulse duration which is applied across the microhotplate contact pads. A corresponding heat pulse from the Pt heating element (1 mm(2)) embedded within the microhotplate is delivered to the lower surface of the thin film (25 mm(2)) deposited over it. The large difference in the dimensions of the heating source and the thin film surface causes heat to flow radially outwards on the top surface of the latter. The decay of this radial heat wave as it flows outwards is recorded by the scanning thermal microscope in terms of temperature-time (T-t) profiles at varying positions around the central heating zone. A fitting procedure is suggested to extract the thermal diffusivity value from the array of T-t profiles. The efficacy of the above setup has been established by evaluating the thermal diffusivities of Bi2Te3 and Bi2Te3: Si thin film samples. Further, with only minor alterations in design the capabilities of the above setup can be extended to estimate the axial thermal diffusivity and specific heat of thin films, as a function of temperature. Published by AIP Publishing.