Dielectric breakdown constitute an important limitation in the use of insulating materials since it causes its damage. This catastrophic phenomenon (Figure 1) is obviously an important failure in the levels of equipment requiring some insulation safety or ensuring their proper functioning. This causes some technological problems associated with the manufacture and use of insulating materials in several industrial sectors like in microelectronics, high voltage electric energy transport and spacecraft. The choice of insulating material for those applications is related to the corresponding breakdown voltage value which limits their use. To improve the resistance to dielectric breakdown, it is imperative to understand and control the cause of this damage process reducing the reliability of some instrumentation. It is well known that breakdown is correlated with the presence of space charge within the insulators. Indeed, breakdown is related to a fast relaxation (detrapping) of trapped charge. Commonly, this space charge can be determined by the SEMME method (Scanning Electron Microscope Mirror Effect) which quantifies the final trapped charge amount. The purpose of this work is to develop a technique using a specific arrangement in the SEM chamber (Figure 2) in order to characterize the trapped charge dynamic by ICM (Induced Current Method). This technique allows enhancing the understanding of trapping phenomenon, spreading and stability of trapped charges
The experiments were carried out in a FESEM (Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope) Carl Zeiss SUPRA 55 VP using a specific configuration in the SEM sample holder (Figure 3). It permits to measure separately and simultaneously the influence current and the conduction current and tracing back to the trapped charge temporal evolution during (charging) and after (charge decay) electrons irradiation (Figure 4). Thereafter, the used technique of two injections separated by a pause time was a powerful method for monitoring and understanding the dynamics of the trapped and released charges in insulating materials. These results open the way for the establishment of a conventional characterization procedure, which will be useful in different contexts of use of insulating materials. The studied materials are α-alumina and Yttria Stabilized Zirconia (YSZ) polycrystalline ceramics. Since the dielectric and electrical properties of an insulating material are highly dependent on its microstructure, the grain size effect and MgO doping effect are then studied and discussed. Via the developed technique, the microstructure – dielectric rigidity correlations could be well justified.
To cite this abstract:Sergio SAO JOAO, Omar MEKNI, Dominique GOEURIOT, Gilles DAMAMME; In situ SEM dynamic investigation of charging kinetics in insulating materials. The 16th European Microscopy Congress, Lyon, France. https://emc-proceedings.com/abstract/in-situ-sem-dynamic-investigation-of-charging-kinetics-in-insulating-materials/. Accessed: December 3, 2023
EMC Abstracts - https://emc-proceedings.com/abstract/in-situ-sem-dynamic-investigation-of-charging-kinetics-in-insulating-materials/