Transforming 300 mm Probing with Contact Intelligence Technology
December 7, 2017
Our CM300xi probe system is the first probe system to deliver integrated Contact Intelligence technology. Contact Intelligence automation targets the realignment process required to synchronize the probe tips with the target pads on the wafer surface.
We have integrated a number of our proprietary technologies to produce Contact Intelligence™ technology, which enables automation and compresses cycle times to an absolute minimum. Our CM300xi probe system is the first probe system to deliver integrated Contact Intelligence technology. Contact Intelligence automation targets the realignment process required to synchronize the probe tips with the target pads on the wafer surface. In many instances, manual probe adjustments can be time-consuming, especially in cases where they are needed not only after a temperature transition, but also after stepping to a new probe location. This is especially true when the transitions involve widely separated probe points on the wafer surface, which amplifies the “hot spot” effect.
To bypass all these points of manual intervention, Contact Intelligence employs our VueTrack™ software in combination with our eVue Pro™ digital imaging technology in a two-step process. First, the system is “trained” to recognize the correct probe-to-pad alignment as manually entered by an operator. Next, the system employs pattern recognition software to automatically maintain this alignment by adjusting the chuck position or using the DC motorized positioners. Contact Intelligence also comes with the CM300xi without the DC motorized positioner package, e.g. when using probe card. The motorized positioners with frictionless EMI shielding enhances the CM300xi precise compensation of thermally-induced drift for each probe separately without compromising low-noise environment conditions. Contact Intelligence technology includes on-axis probe needle tracking capability to deliver accurate probe placement on pads as small as 30 µm x 30 µm.
Contact Intelligence management addresses the need to initiate test measurements as quickly as possible once thermal stability is achieved after moving to a new temperature set. Velox™ probe station control software can manage the required soak time at any given temperature set. A soak time at 90˚C will be of substantially shorter duration than one at 200˚C. Velox software manages the soak times according to the actual chuck temperature. It can operate based on either a fixed soak time or a temperature-dependent soak time where the required soak time is automatically calculated based on the increase in temperature from the previous chuck temperature. The user enters the required soak time factor only once and the system then automatically manages the transitions going forward.
To ensure that the benefits of Contact Intelligence extend to the widest possible range of test scenarios, we’ve incorporated a number of High Thermal Stability (HTS) components into the CM300xi probe station. These include a special high thermal stability platen, microscope transport and probe card holder. With these HTS components in place, we have successfully tested without user intervention from -40˚C to 150˚C in a series of system characterization tests at 30 x 30 µm.
Once Contact Intelligence has been implemented, tests run for a long duration on a single wafer, or across multiple wafers, can be conducted without user intervention. All probe realignments happen automatically once thermal stability has been reached at a given temperature and chuck position. All soak times are monitored and implemented according to pre-programmed standards that maximize efficiency. As a result, test runs no longer have to conform to the presence of operators who must manually intervene. Each run, whether over hours or days, takes place in the shortest possible time span.
For more information on Contact Intelligence and how it tackles the dual challenges brought on by expanding temperature ranges and shrinking feature sizes, download our technical brief – Introducing Contact Intelligence Technology.