FormFactor’s powerful automation features for unattended testing at multiple temperatures contribute to increased data accuracy and minimized cost of test by reducing operator intervention to a minimum. However, even the highest degree of automation is relying on human intervention and manual adjustments when it comes to putting in place a completely new measurement setup or exchanging equipment. When handling highly sophisticated probes or probe cards worth thousands of dollars, an intuitive, rapid and safe operation of the probe station is key.

Continuous optimizations

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We at FormFactor are continuously optimizing ergonomy features and adjustment capabilities of our industry-leading 300 mm wafer probe station CM300xi to enhance operator experience and simplify measurement workflows. This not only makes it easy and convenient for engineers and operators to work with our probe stations, enabling a highly productive and innovative working atmosphere. It also helps to avoid cost and delays due to material damage caused by faulty operation or misuse.

Making manual adjustments in X, Y and Z

Our 3D Manual Controls provide an additional and extremely intuitive way of manually moving the chuck in X-, Y- and Z direction. Use the X-Y Knobs for positioning the chuck in X-and Y direction and the virtual Platen Lift  for controlling the separation distance between wafer and probes.

The CM300xi Platen Lift is a virtual feature. The platen of the CM300xi is not moving for real but is fixed which yields increased stability and accuracy. Instead, the Platen Lift induces a synchronized translation of chuck and microscope stage in such a way that the microscope image remains focussed on wafer level while probes and wafer are moved to separation. As such the net effect is similar as a conventional mechanical Platen Lift. Indeed, you will hardly notice the difference.

Our Application Engineers are loving this feature as it safes time when performing alignment tasks.  Typical use cases include setting up the contact height and performing “dry runs” of measurement scripts.

Imagine you programmed a lengthy measurement routine that is supposed to run over night or even over the whole weekend. Wouldn’t it be great to quickly perform a dry run with probes in separation height to be sure that everything is set up correctly? With the CM300xi Platen Lift this can be done in a rapid and convenient way. Having prepared the measurement setup and programmed the script, before starting for real, move the Platen Lift up for separating probe tips and wafer. Then start your script. A dry run is performed. Follow up the execution of your script and debug, if necessary. Everything programmed and adjusted correctly? Great, just move the Platen Lift back to contact and start your measurement for real.[1]

Additionally to the well-arranged status feedback of our Velox Probe Station Control software, the ergonomically placed and clearly visible Platen Lift lever provides an additional visual feedback about contact status.

Platen Lift and manual X-Y Knobs are part of FormFactor’s 3D Manual Controls for CM300xi probe stations. They enable ergonomic manual adjustments in X and Y as well as control of separation distance. 3D Manual Controls is an optional feature available for all new CM300xi probe stations. Field upgrades to existing machines are available upon request.

[1] Please refer to the CM300xi User Guide for more detailed instructions.