We’ve integrated a number of our proprietary technologies to provide Contact IntelligenceTM, which enable automation and compress cycle times to an absolute minimum. The CM300xi probe system was 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 motorized positioners. Contact Intelligence also comes with the CM300xi without the positioner package. The motorized positioners with frictionless EMI shielding allow the CM300xi precise compensation of thermally-induced drift 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 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 soak time. The user enters the required soak times per temperature unit for each temperature set 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 have incorporated a number of high-thermal stability (HTS) components into the CM300xi probe station. They include a special high-temperature platen, microscope transport mechanism and probe card holder. With these HTS components in place, we have successfully tested from -40˚C to 150˚C in a series of system characterization tests at 30 x 30 µm.

Once Contact Intelligence has been implemented, test runs of 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.

Be sure to download our CM300xi data sheet (PDF) or visit our website to learn about how this wafer probe system can increase and improve automation.