20 June 2011

Cascade curve tracers for wafer-level probing of power devices

Cascade Microtech Inc of Beaverton, OR, USA, which provides production test products including probe cards and test sockets for wafers, ICs, IC packages, circuit boards and modules as well as MEMS, 3D TSV and LED devices, says that its CT-3100/3200 curve tracers will be manufactured for it exclusively by Iwatsu Test Instruments Corp of Tokyo, Japan (a manufacturer of test equipment including oscilloscopes).

Providing versatile wafer-level measurement for the growing power device market, the curve tracer units complement the high-voltage and high-current capabilities of Cascade’s Tesla probe systems to speed up the device characterization process and hence time-to-market for power device makers, it is claimed.

The market for power transistors will continue to post healthy gains through 2014, forecasts market research firm IC Insights. Steady growth, combined with emerging energy standards and increasing power consumption and conservation efforts, demand additional performance capabilities, says Cascade. Pressure has hence been placed on device makers to rapidly design and characterize new power devices to provide more efficiency. Power device characterization requires measuring performance across an entire operating region, often at hundreds of amperes and thousands of volts. Such high-performance requirements have created the need for innovations in curve tracer technology — tools that have long been an industry standard for power device characterization but no longer meet stringent and higher-power characterization requirements, says Cascade.

The CT-3100/3200 curve tracers are designed specifically for measuring different types of high-power semiconductor devices such as silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) and/or silicon insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs), super-junction MOSFETs, diodes and thyristors. Measurement productivity is enhanced by the built-in USB port and a LAN interface for remote control of the CT-3100/3200. Complementary to existing SMU-based instruments, the CT-3100/3200 curve tracers provide fast, accurate characterization up to 3000V, 400A, 4000W peak power and support a leakage mode with cursor resolution of 1pA.

When used in combination with Cascade’s Tesla probe system, design cycles can be significantly reduced from traditional package-level device characterization methods that require high-power devices be cut from wafers, packaged and returned for test in custom fixtures, says the firm. On-wafer characterization methods reduce these lengthy measurement cycle times by eliminating the need for dicing and packaging steps. As a result, device developers can do more complete characterizations to improve quality and reduce time-to-yield, Cascade adds.

“Integrated on-wafer measurement solutions for high-power device characterization will greatly help customers to speed up their design cycle,” says Iwatsu Test Instruments’ president Misao Saito. “No longer do they need to send the wafer for dicing and bonding in the package before devices can be tested accurately. Measurements can now be made at the wafer level,” he adds. 

“We are pleased to now offer Iwatsu curve tracers which, when paired with our Tesla system, will deliver an-integrated measurement solution for power device characterization not previously offered in the market,” says Cascade’s president & CEO Michael Burger. “Efficient on-wafer characterization shortens the design cycle, improves product quality and provides our customers with faster time-to-market.”

Tags: Cascade Microtech SiC GaN

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