Electrical shorting in micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) is a significant production and manufacturing concern. We present a new approach to localizing shorted MEMS devices using Thermally-Induced Voltage Alteration (TIVA) [1]. In TIVA, the shorted, thermally isolated MEMS device is very sensitive to thermal stimulus. The site of the MEMS short will respond as a thermocouple when heated. By monitoring the potential across the shorted MEMS device as a laser scans across the sample, an image showing the location of the thermocouple (short site) can be generated. The TIVA signal for thermally isolated MEMS devices is much higher than that observed for conventional IC interconnections. This results from the larger temperature gradients generated during laser scanning due to little or no substrate heat sinking. The capability to quickly localize shorted MEMS structures is demonstrated by several examples. Thermal modeling of heat distributions is presented and is consistent with the experimental results.

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