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Wafer probe stations cut cost in 45nm node

Posted: 14 Jan 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wafer probe station? 45nm? wafer measurement?

Cascade Microtech has launched the next step in 300mm wafer probe stations designed to meet the need for advanced on-wafer measurements for semiconductor devices.

The Elite 300 solves the critical measurement challenges at each advancing technology node by incorporating electrical and mechanical technology, advanced materials and measurement techniques. Elite 300 applications include RF/DC device characterization and modeling, wafer-level reliability, IC failure analysis and design debug.

Cascade's new wafer probing platform handles low noise environments, small pad probing, wide-range temperature testing, internal node probing and multi-site testing with high throughput and high reliability to ensure confidence in data collected.

At 45nm and below, the need to ensure lower operating and bias voltages, plus the use of new materials, has compounded the challenges of making accurate, low level, on-wafer device measurements. The Elite 300 is claimed to be the lowest noise environment for ultra low-level noise measurements. With next generation PureLine II performance, Cascade's proprietary noise-reduction technology, the Elite 300 enables up to 10 times lower spectral noise and four times better AC noise.

As test pad sizes scale down to 30?m2 and below, obstacles such as thermal expansion, wafer flatness, planarity and stepping accuracy have made it difficult to accurately land probe needles on small pads with good contact during step-and repeat wafer measurements. The Elite 300's architectural upgrades offer improved stepping accuracy, ensure flatness and planarity, and prevent probe needle shifting.

Furthermore, as demand for higher IC performance, quality and yield requires more thermal test data, manufacturers must have probe stations that offer a much wider temperature range and higher throughput. The Elite 300 meets both of these needs with a wide standard temperature range of -60C to 300C, plus a 400C thermal chuck option.

For faster throughput, the Elite 300 has 25 percent faster transition times, ultra-steady probe and probe card mechanical stability that is critical for over-temperature measurements, an automated air management system and wafer lift pins to enable high-temperature wafer loading/unloading to eliminate thermal cycling.

In addition, for precise internal-node, sub-micron probing over temperature, the Elite 300 has thermally matched components for superior mechanical stability. With the new low profile probe card holder, simultaneous probe card and high impedance node probing is easy. A new hands-free microscope bridge mount system, smart cabling, accessory shelves, and ergonomic armrests all ensure faster setup and easier navigation to, and within, test die.

The Elite 300 also enables multi-site, wafer-level reliability testing with trustworthy, high-volume data collection. To accommodate the need for on-wafer reliability measurements, the Elite 300 enables easy setup, plus accurate, repeatable results for large- and small-area multi-site test configurations.

"The Elite 300 platform is designed to lower process development costs and shorten time to market through superior electrical measurement capability," said Geoff Wild, CEO, Cascade.

The Elite 300 is available in three station models. The Elite 300/AP features PureLine II, AttoGuard and MicroChamber technologies, with a premium package of automation tools. The Elite 300/M includes the MicroChamber, while the Elite 300/S features an open platen with safety enclosure.

The Elite 300 wafer probe stations are available. Standard delivery is 12 weeks ARO. Pricing ranges from $80,000 to $400,000, depending on the model and configuration.

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