Graphene is a very promising material for potential applications in many fields. Since manufacturing technologies of graphene are still at the developing stage, low-frequency noise measurements as a tool for evaluating their quality is proposed. In this work, noise properties of polymer thick-film resistors with graphene nano-platelets as a functional phase are reported. The measurements were carried out in room temperature. 1/f noise caused by resistance fluctuations has been found to be the main component in the specimens. The parameter values describing noise intensity of the polymer thick-film specimens have been calculated and compared with the values obtained for other thick-film resistors and layers used in microelectronics. The studied polymer thick-film specimens exhibit rather poor noise properties, especially for the layers with a low content of the functional phase.
Measurement of low-frequency noise properties of modern electronic components is a very demanding challenge due to the low magnitude of a noise signal and the limit of a dissipated power. In such a case, an ac technique with a lock-in amplifier or the use of a low-noise transformer as the first stage in the signal path are common approaches. A software dual-phase virtual lock-in (VLI) technique has been developed and tested in low-frequency noise studies of electronic components. VLI means that phase-sensitive detection is processed by a software layer rather than by an expensive hardware lock-in amplifier. The VLI method has been tested in exploration of noise in polymer thick-film resistors. Analysis of the obtained noise spectra of voltage fluctuations confirmed that the 1/f noise caused by resistance fluctuations is the dominant one. The calculated value of the parameter describing the noise intensity of a resistive material, C = 1·10−21 m3, is consistent with that obtained with the use of a dc method. On the other hand, it has been observed that the spectra of (excitation independent) resistance noise contain a 1/f component whose intensity depends on the excitation frequency. The phenomenon has been explained by means of noise suppression by impedances of the measurement circuit, giving an excellent agreement with the experimental data.
Low-frequency noise measurements have long been recognized as a valuable tool in the examination of quality and reliability of metallic interconnections in the microelectronic industry. While characterized by very high sensitivity, low-frequency noise measurements can be extremely time-consuming, especially when tests have to be carried out over an extended temperature range and with high temperature resolution as it is required by some advanced characterization approaches recently proposed in the literature. In order to address this issue we designed a dedicated system for the characterization of the low-frequency noise produced by a metallic line vs temperature. The system combines high flexibility and automation with excellent background noise levels. Test temperatures range from ambient temperature up to 300◦C. Measurements can be completely automated with temperature changing in pre-programmed steps. A ramp temperature mode is also possible that can be used, with proper caution, to virtually obtain a continuous plot of noise parameters vs temperature.