Microwave Journal

Keithley and Mesatronic Enter Agreement

November 13, 2006

Keithley Instruments Inc., a leader in solutions for emerging measurement needs, announced it has partnered with Mesatronic Group, Voiron, France, to develop advanced probe cards for semiconductor parametric testers used in RF and low current DC applications. William Merkel, marketing director for the Keithley Parametric Test Product Group, said, "When the new probe cards are available later this year, they can be used with Keithley parametric testers for simultaneous extraction of RF and very low level DC current parameters on any combination of probe pins that contact a semiconductor wafer." The probes for these cards will also be suitable for the smaller 30-micron test pads toward which the industry is migrating. Currently, performing simultaneous low current DC and RF measurements is complicated by the fact that existing cards have only a few dedicated RF probe pins, and they cannot be used for accurate low current DC measurements.

The new "any pin" RF/DC probe card design will allow higher test system throughput, because both RF and DC measurements can be made with a single wafer insertion, without the need to swap probe cards and load and align a wafer a second time. In addition, users of Keithley RF/DC parametric test systems can standardize on one card for multiple semiconductor test applications. In addition to reducing probe card inventory, this will help prevent measurement errors that occur when the wrong probe card is selected for a test setup. The new probe card technology should be of particular interest to manufacturers of RFICs, RFIDs, and devices for mobile and wireless handsets and infrastructure.