Keithley and Mesatronic advance parametric wafer probe technology | Automation.com

Keithley and Mesatronic advance parametric wafer probe technology

Cleveland, Ohio – November 8, 2006 - Keithley Instruments, Inc. (NYSE :KEI), a leader in solutions for emerging measurement needs, announces it has partnered with Mesatronic Group (Voiron, France) to develop advanced probe cards for semiconductor parametric testers used in RF and low current DC applications. William Merkel, Marketing Director for the Keithley Parametric Test Product Group, said, “When the new probe cards are available later this year, they can be used with Keithley parametric testers for simultaneous extraction of RF and very low level DC current parameters on any combination of probe pins that contact a semiconductor wafer.” The probes for these cards will also be suitable for the smaller 30-micron test pads toward which the industry is migrating. Currently, performing simultaneous low current DC and RF measurements is complicated by the fact that existing cards have only a few dedicated RF probe pins, and they cannot be used for accurate low current DC measurements.

The new “any pin” RF/DC probe card design will allow higher test system throughput, because both RF and DC measurements can be made with a single wafer insertion, without the need to swap probe cards and load and align a wafer a second time. In addition, users of Keithley RF/DC parametric test systems can standardize on one card for multiple semiconductor test applications. In addition to reducing probe card inventory, this will help prevent measurement errors that occur when the wrong probe card is selected for a test setup. The new probe card technology should be of particular interest to manufacturers of RFICs (RF integrated circuits), RFIDs (radio frequency identification devices), and devices for mobile and wireless handsets and infrastructure.

Keithley/Mesatronic Development.
The key to development of the new probe card is creation of a spatial transformer that interfaces the probe card with a flexible membrane circuit structure in the center of the prober, where probe needles are attached. Keithley’s expertise in sensitive DC and RF measurement guard circuitry and other interconnect technology will be used to create the low loss broadband signal path through the probe card that is crucial for its implementation. Because a ll connection geometries in the design will be the same, this should also lower manufacturing costs and the price to users of parametric test systems.

Mesatronic’s D.O.D (“Die-On-Die”) Technology® for vertical probing will be used in the new probe cards, allowing a reduced scrub length suitable for 30-micron probe pads. Conventional cantilever probe technology is currently restricted to pad sizes larger than 50 microns.

When this new probe card technology is combined with Keithley’s S600 Series parametric testers, the result will be single insertion DC/RF wafer measurements for automated process monitoring. This will include fully automated single-pass calibration that is quickly executed during testing without the need for human verification. With the new probe cards, users will have the ability to measure RF and low current DC signals on any combination of prober pins by simply changing the type of cabling and termination used for the RF and DC pins. This system will provide an unrivaled combination of high-performance, speed, flexibility, ease of use, and compact size – saving users time, effort, and money.

About Keithley.
With 60 years of measurement expertise, Keithley Instruments has become a world leader in advanced electrical test instruments and systems from DC to RF (radio frequency). Its products solve emerging measurement needs in production testing, process monitoring, product development, and research. The company's customers are scientists and engineers in the worldwide electronics industry involved with advanced materials research, semiconductor device and wafer characterization and functional test, and the production of end products such as electronic assemblies or portable wireless devices. The value Keithley provides its customers is a combination of precision measurement technology and a rich understanding of their applications to improve the quality, throughput, and yield of their products.

About Mesatronic.
Mesatronic Group, with headquarters in Voiron, France, specializes in the design and manufacturing of probe cards with innovative solutions for test interfacing and burn in requirements. With multiple production facilities located near major semiconductor R&D and manufacturing sites, Mesatronic has formed close working relationships within the industry. Its state of the art test equipment, custom solutions, high quality, and short lead times are combined with outstanding technical and sales support to meet the industry’s need for cost effective test systems.
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