Yenra : Manufacturing : Cluster Probe : Automated analytical system with six probers for testing substrates clustered around a single high-speed robotic material handling unit

Cluster Probe

SUSS MicroTec has introduced the production test Cluster Probing System (CPS) which saves money and valuable real estate by combining multiple test configurations within one system.

Utilizing the technology behind SUSS' highly successful lithography cluster tools, SUSS created a back-end test system with the production efficiency found in front-end fab tools. SUSS's CPS concept consists of a family of high throughput probe systems (currently up to 6) configured around a single high-speed robotic Material Handling Unit (MHU). This revolutionary solution increases test capacity and lowers cost of ownership compared to stand-alone test systems. The system is extremely flexible due to its modular hardware/software and can be upgraded and reconfigured in the field as test needs change. The advanced software allows multiple test protocols to be run on the same wafer without human intervention. Designed to minimize expensive clean room space, the CPS uses 40% less floor space than individual production probers. Each probe module can be operated in manual, semi- or fully-auto mode and removed from the cluster to be used as stand alone probe systems.

"With a proven history in the production environment, over two hundred systems installed world wide for each technology, the combination provides unsurpassed flexibility, modularity and reliability," said Don Feuerstein, North American Test Systems Sales & Marketing Manager. "The CPS is the latest concept in production test. It meets the test demands of a production environment while saving the customer money and space over the traditional production test set up. The modularity of the CPS allows the customer to integrate a wide variety of test applications so that multiple test protocols can be completed without operator intervention."

This unique concept which is based on the traditional analytical prober is a prime example of "thinking outside of the box" making it especially suitable for testing "non-standard" devices such as optoelectronic, MEMS and high frequency components. These require special test set-ups with a high customization content. Such individuality is possible as each prober within the cluster can be configured according to specific application wishes. This means that non-electrical tests are possible (e.g. light spectrum analysis for opto components, pressure or sound stimulation as well as motion analysis of MEMS), as is double side probing or the integration of other accessories such as thermal chucks for characterization and reliability tests. The first installed systems are being used for testing LEDs at wafer level.

"The system maintains the precision and flexibility of an analytical prober while increasing throughput to a level acceptable for the production environment," concludes Claus Dietrich, International Product Manager for Probe Systems at SUSS before continuing "It is the first system to seriously tackle the issue of production test in fields such as optoelectronics and MEMS where specific tests such as using non-electrical stimuli is required. It was only made possible by taking a totally new direction in prober design. Our lead customer has recently purchased its third such system - a testimony to the success of this concept."

SUSS MicroTec supplies production, process and test technology for the semiconductor industry.