Cascade Microtech, a FormFactor company (NASDAQ:FORM), and a supplier of solutions that enable precision measurements of discrete devices and integrated circuits (ICs) at the wafer level, today announced the launch of the Estrada-EM system – the industry’s first integrated measurement solution (IMS) to offer high-performance electromigration (EM) wafer-level reliability (WLR) testing of copper lines and vias in an oxygen-depleted environment. The Estrada-EM system delivers important WLR benefits to a test industry which has traditionally been limited to package-level reliability (PLR) test methods alone for EM. By overcoming several long-standing technical hurdles, this new product enables semiconductor reliability test programs to produce faster test results and assure high data integrity.
Electromigration is widely recognized to be a critical reliability issue for state of the art semiconductor technologies, and expected to become an even greater challenge at the 10 nm node and beyond. Proper evaluation of EM reliability necessitates the testing of many samples, under many conditions. By eliminating the packaging steps required for PLR, which delay the start of every test, the Estrada-EM WLR solution provides the same electromigration reliability answers days, or even weeks, sooner. In addition to eliminating the packaging delays, the system further boosts test program throughput with an extended-range thermal system for test acceleration, high-parallel test capacity, and unique features for unattended test which include automated in-situ probe alignment and autonomous dynamic thermal test profiles. The result is quicker technology evaluation cycles and faster fab process qualifications, for reduced time to market and increased profitability.
Today’s environment of shrinking reliability margins and increasingly sophisticated IC design rules demands not only fast results, but also highly accurate test data. WLR testing with the Estrada-EM IMS entirely avoids the risk of latent water and ESD damage which can occur in the test structures during the wafer sawing, structure bonding, and package handling which occurs for PLR. To further enhance data integrity, the system’s source measurement units (SMUs) incorporate unique performance capabilities such as programmable compliance to ensure the legitimacy of breakdown mechanisms and continuous monitoring to capture maximum data detail. This meticulous care leads to the industry’s most well-informed interconnect reliability models and technology decisions.
These benefits are extended to the full reliability test market by Cascade Microtech’s revolutionary PureZone oxygen-purging chamber system, which carefully wraps the wafer in an inert gas environment to prevent oxidation of copper pads and structures. This innovation enables, for the first time, direct testing of all wafers with copper interconnect technologies, including those without pad capping or passivation and even partially-processed wafers.
“Today’s technology race puts pressure on reliability labs for quicker answers, and the complexity of new nodes means a variety of materials and structures need to be evaluated in a compressed timeframe,” said Mike Slessor, President and CEO, FormFactor, Inc. “We’re happy to be able to help our customers accelerate design and qualification cycles by using EM WLR to complement EM PLR as they respond to emerging reliability challenges.”