Keithley, Stratosphere Enable Sub-65nm Process Characterization

Keithley Instruments, Inc. (NYSE:KEI), a leader in solutions for emerging measurement needs, announces a partnership with Stratosphere Solutions, Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA), a provider of innovative parametric yield improvement solutions for integrated circuit manufacturers. Keithley’s partnership with Stratosphere Solutions will address advanced process development and monitoring using an Array TEG (test element group) technology.

Parametric process variation at the sub-65nm level is posing significant challenges to design and test engineers as IC manufacturers seek to produce ever-smaller devices. The semiconductor industry is seeing a rapidly growing need for monitoring extremely sensitive production processes in order to optimize IC performance without sacrificing yields.

Keithley and Stratosphere Solutions will work together to provide mutual customers with a unique characterization infrastructure that includes high volume, high throughput, and reliable parametric measurements using Keithley’s Series S600 Parametric Testers and StratoPro(tm) IP to ensure customer success.

“As semiconductor technology pushes the upper limits of device miniaturization to nano-scale levels, measurement technology must not only keep pace but even lead manufacturers’ ability to build and test these devices,” explained Mark Hoersten, Keithley vice president, business management. “As a leader in semiconductor test technology, Keithley looks forward to collaborating with leading players in the industry to create innovative solutions for the most advanced customer applications.”

“We are excited to be working with Keithley to deliver innovative, out-of-the-box, interoperable solutions that connect best-in-class tools, critical for our industry.” said Prashant Maniar, Chief Strategy Officer, Stratosphere Solutions, Inc. “As technology advances to 45nm and below, more and more customers face the challenge of ramping parametric yield. Our tightly integrated, silicon-proven solution is a linchpin in empowering customers to drive parametric yield higher, reduce the cost of ramping parametric yield, accelerate test time, and improve ROI.”

Keithley’s Series S600 Parametric Testers help fabs and wafer foundries reduce their cost of test by being adaptable to changing device technologies. Their ability to be repurposed as very minimal cost DC, RF, and array TEG testers provides capital equipment reuse and therefore lowers the cost of test. The latest in the Series S600, the Model S680, combines, in a single test system, parallel testing capability, high DC sensitivity, femtoamp-level resolution, and RF s-parameter measurements up to 40GHz. This provides the industry’s highest throughput and a lower cost of ownership for measurements at the 65nm node and beyond.

Array TEG structures, like Stratosphere’s award-winning StratoPro product suite, are increasingly becoming mission-critical for characterizing semiconductor processes as geometries shrink below 65nm. Leading edge semiconductor companies desire a de facto standard product, StratoPro, which delivers thousands of times higher density for the same silicon area, highest resolution measurements, and improved overall test integrity.

StratoPro(tm), a Parametric ActiveMatrix(tm) silicon IP platform, empowers fab and fab-lite customers to characterize with high accuracy, within-die statistics of electrical parameters and their variability. Customers choose the 65nm and 45nm silicon-proven StratoPro platform, because it provides 10 to 1000x greater test structure density, performs very high resolution measurements, and, coupled with the Keithley tester platform, provides significant improvement in test time. Fab customers use StratoPro(tm) during early process development, yield ramp, and production monitoring. Fab-lite customers use the solution to characterize design-style dependent process variations.

About Stratosphere Solutions, Inc.
Stratosphere Solutions, Inc. is the leading provider of an innovative parametric yield improvement solution including a silicon-proven IP platform and modeling applications empowering customers to reduce impact of variability on performance and parametric yield. Its customer base includes leading worldwide semiconductor companies building products utilizing processes from 130nm to 45nm.

About Keithley Instruments, Inc.
With more than 60 years of measurement expertise, Keithley Instruments has become a world leader in advanced electrical test instruments and systems from DC to RF (radio frequency). Our products solve emerging measurement needs in production testing, process monitoring, product development, and research. Our customers are scientists and engineers in the worldwide electronics industry involved with advanced materials research, semiconductor device development and fabrication, and the production of end products such as portable wireless devices. The value we provide them is a combination of precision measurement technology and a rich understanding of their applications to improve the quality of their products and reduce their cost of test.