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Cascade Microtech' digital imager zooms in for precise wafer test

Posted: 09 Aug 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:microscopy? digital imaging? prober control software? cascade microtech? evue?

A new system combining microscopy, digital imaging and prober control software is debuting at Cascade Microtech. Promising to save hours each day, the system addresses the challenges faced by semiconductor manufacturers in the design, production, and testing of ICs. Smaller IC feature sizes, tinier pads, new materials, and larger wafers all present obstacles to success.

To address the challenges, Cascade Microtech, a maker of metrology systems and production probe cards, is debuting its eVue digital imaging system. The company claims it will enable dramatic productivity gains in semiconductor wafer navigation and testing. Cascade should know; it was the first company to enable multi-GHz on-wafer measurements, and it was the first to enable ultra-low current on-wafer measurements as low as one femtoamp.

Designed primarily for those of you doing process development or device characterization and modeling, the eVue digital imaging system is promising to save two to three hours a day currently wasted on inefficient semiconductor navigation and test data collection. Optimized for on-wafer test with Cascade Microtech's wafer probing stations, eVue lets you navigate, observe and measure leading-edge devices faster than with a conventional microscope.

The new system combines wafer probe navigation tools and video processing with next-generation digital microscope technology developed by Umech Technologies, a Cascade Microtech partner.

Beyond microscopes

The eVue digital imaging system integrates optical, electronics, and software. At the core of the system is a multi-CCD (charge-coupled device) microscope with high-definition zoom digital video and wide field/high magnification capabilities. Three discrete optical paths, each with individual high-res CCD cameras, can be used to provide a multi-perspective view of a DUT (device under test).

eVue's wide FOV (field-of-view) optics, in conjunction with its high-definition video, let you see an extended view of the wafer when navigating. you can see both ends of a probe card needle array when aligning small probe tips to test pads.

Automatically optimized

An intelligent objective lens-mount also stores critical lens-microscope performance information together with the objective lens. When a lens is changed for a different test configuration, eVue reads the new lens data and is automatically configured and optimized. With this feature, wafer navigation, probe positioning accuracy, and on-screen measuring tape functions are all automatic.

Software capabilities

The company's Pro Package version of eVue also includes software that adds automation and productivity capabilities to a Cascade probe station. A toolkit has three software operation modes dubbed Multi-Cam, Multi-View, and Multi-Z.

Multi-Cam mode offers one, two, or three simultaneous live video views, each at a different perspective of the same DUT. In use, viewing can be optimized with picture-in-picture or side-by-side display layouts.

For its part, Multi-View mode enables fast probe-card alignment and multiple-test device viewing by giving you the capability to see multiple digital views, each at different wafer locations and magnifications. Finally, Multi-Z mode provides microscope auto-focus, optical height sensing, and wafer profiling. Using it, you can create wafer profile maps for multiple test temperatures, and recall them at each temperature to ensure precise probe touchdown and accurate data collection. Wafer Z-height can also be measured in realtime during thermal soak time, eliminating wasted time.

Pricing and availability

The eVue digital imaging system starts at about $19,000. The eVue Pro Package starts at about $34,000.

- Alex Mendelsohn


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