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Keithley Instruments: Automated Test System
Automated characterization test system.
Cleveland, OH — Keithley Instruments, Inc. has enhanced its Automated Characterization Suite (ACS) software to include optional wafer level reliability (WLR) test tools for semiconductor reliability and lifetime prediction testing applications. Version 4.0 builds on the ACS software's existing single- and multi-site parallel test capabilities, adding a database capability, plus tools for the new Reliability Test Module (RTM) and ACS Data Analysis capabilities.

Together, the new Reliability Test and Data Analysis tools allow ACS-based test systems to produce lifetime predictions as much as five times faster than traditional WLR test solutions. By accelerating WLR testing during the technology development, process integration, and process monitoring phases of creating new integrated circuits, ACS systems can reduce time-to-market for new products significantly.

ACS-based test systems have the hardware configuration flexibility necessary to address a wide range of semiconductor characterization needs at the device, wafer, or cassette level. They can incorporate either the company's Series 2600 System SourceMeter® instruments, the company's Model 4200-SCS Semiconductor Characterization System, or both.

Wafer Level Reliability (WLR) testing is used to predict reliable lifetimes for semiconductor components such as transistors, capacitors, and interconnects. These tests, performed on on-wafer test structures, can reveal critical reliability information during research and development; similar tests are used to monitor the consistency of manufacturing processes once devices go into full production. WLR testing is designed to accelerate failure mechanisms by stressing devices with elevated levels of voltage, current, and/or heat. To determine acceleration factors, a set of devices will undergo various levels of stress over time. Unlike traditional WLR systems, which stress-test one device at a time, the new WLR tools in the ACS software allow testing multiple devices in parallel while applying different stress conditions (voltage or current) to each device.

ACS 4.0 software can be used to drive test systems made up exclusively of Series 2600 System SourceMeter instruments, just the Model 4200-SCS Semiconductor Characterization System, or a combination of both. With the special capabilities of each integrated into a single system, reliability engineers can bring together the advantages of high speed, SMU-per-pin flexibility (Series 2600) and the high power pulse I-V testing capability (Model 4200-PIV) needed to characterize interface traps and isothermal behaviors, which are common in new gate stack technologies. Typically, Model 4200-SCS applications are found in the reliability lab, while the Series 2600's high speed makes these instruments invaluable in process development, process integration, and process monitoring applications. An ACS-based system that combines both instrument types simplifies a device's transition from the lab to the fab by allowing engineers to use the same characterization tool in both environments.

Keithley's ACS-based test systems are designed to interoperate with a wide range of hardware components typically used in WLR testing, including popular wafer probers and probe card adapters, hot chuck controllers, single- and multi-site probe cards, and high temperature probing options.

Contact: Keithley Instruments, Inc., 28775 Aurora Road, Cleveland, OH 44139 800-688-9951 or 440-248-0400 fax: 440-248-6168E-mail: Web:

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