CLEVELAND, Ohio, July 27 -- Keithley Instruments Inc. has introduced pulse generation and measurement in its 4200-SCS semiconductor characterization system with a PIV (pulse I-V) package that it says enables better measurements and faster time-to-market for researchers working with high-k (high dielectric constant) materials, thermally sensitive devices and advanced memory chips. The company said it is the first product of its kind to offer accurate and repeatable pulse and DC measurements in an integrated package.
The PIV package is an option for Keithley's 4200-SCS system, which performs laboratory-grade DC device characterization, real-time plotting and analysis with high-precision subfemtoamp resolution. It offers the most advanced capabilities available in a fully integrated characterization system, the company said, including a complete embedded PC with Windows XP and mass storage.
"As semiconductor technology evolves to the 65-nm node and beyond, measurement techniques other than DC source measure are necessary to effectively characterize new materials and devices due to new problems such as high-k charge trapping and self-heating in SOI (silicon on insulator) devices," Keithley said in a statement. "While leading-edge developers have recognized the need for pulse testing, there have been no commercially available solutions for easy, accurate nd repeatable pulse measurements.
The model 4200-SCS PIV package with pulse capability solves this problem through tight integration of pulse generation, pulse measurement, software and simplified interconnects to the device under test, according to the company. "Users no longer have to fumble with racks of equipment, complicated wiring connections, internally developed software and questionable measurement results," it said.
The PIV package is built on a new dual-channel pulse generator card, which features dual independent channels with a frequency range from 1 to 50 MHz. It is capable of generating a pulse as short as 10 nanoseconds, allowing for true isothermal pulse measurement of SOI devices and other 65-nm and below devices and processes. Tight control of pulse edges at slower speeds allows for precise sourcing and measuring in charge trapping, AC stress testing and memory testing. Users can control several pulse parameters such as pulse width, duty cycle, rise and fall times, amplitude and offset. Keithley said the combination of pulse functionality and measurement with DC characterization capabilities is unique in the market.
The company said the integrated software and front-panel user interface are easy to learn and use, so even a nonexpert user can quickly set up and begin obtaining good pulsed I-V measurements. The PIV software controls pulse generation and measurement. The software sets up and drives the dual-channel pulse generator; sets up, triggers and takes pulse measurements; and collects and presents the data.
The new PIV software suite also features a proprietary cable compensation algorithm for measurement integrity, and a load-line correction scheme for accurate pulse threshold voltage extraction.
Sample projects and code for conducting pulse IV and charge trapping tests are included.
Keithley said its PIV package is well-suited for solving problems in high-k dielectric integration, such as charge trapping, and thermal heating in new devices for the 65-nm node and beyond, such as SOI and FinFET devices. Other applications include charge pumping, AC stress for testing new reliability failure mechanisms and a variety of other pulse and clock applications.
The model 4200-SCS PIV package is suitable for managers and engineers in semiconductor technology development, product development and reliability labs and in materials and device research labs.
The dual-channel pulse generator card is also available for use as a general-purpose pulser integrated into a model 4200-SCS. Applications include failure analysis, charge pumping, flash-memory testing and clock generation. Software for the pulse generator card features a user-friendly front panel graphical user interface.
Along with the model 4200-SCS PIV package, Keithley has released Version 6.0 of its KTEI semiconductor test software, which includes a variety of enhancements.
The model 4200-SCS PIV package features can be ordered with new model 4200-SCS units, or they can be added to existing units. The new dual-channel pulse generator can also be ordered separately from the PIV package for applications such as charge pumping or flash memory testing. Prices start at $30,000 for the PIV package and $10,000 for the stand-alone dual-channel pulse generator card. They will be available beginning in October.
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