A semiconductor electronics probe station stands as an advanced tool integral to the testing of circuits and devices on silicon wafers, die, and microcontroller chips in the open market.
The primary function of a probe station is to enable the user to place an electronic, optical, or RF detector on a device and then assess the device's response to external stimuli—be it electronic, optical, or RF in nature.high voltage probe These assessments range from simple continuity or isolation checks to intricate, full-featured tests involving complex microcircuits.
Probe stations offer the flexibility to test an entire wafer or individual chips, either before or after the wafer has been cut. Wafer-level testing facilitates multiple tests at different production stages, enabling close monitoring of the manufacturing process for defect detection. Testing individual chips before final packaging ensures that only fully functional devices enter circulation,wafer chuck thereby enhancing overall product quality. Probe stations find applications in research and development, product development, and failure analysis, demanding versatile and precise tools for various tests on different device areas.
What distinguishes an excellent probe station,manual prober adding significant value to testing procedures, is its precise control over probe placement on the device, application of external stimuli, and management of environmental conditions during testing.
A probe station comprises six fundamental components:
The chuck securely holds a wafer or chip in place without causing damage.
2. Carrier Table
Positioned in X, Y, Z, and θ (Theta) coordinates, the carrier table ensures accurate placement of the chuck.
3. Manipulator (DUT)
This component manipulates the probe to position it precisely on the device under test (DUT).
The platen holds the manipulator, ensuring the probe stays in contact with the device during testing.
5. Probe Head and Arm
Mounted on the manipulator, the probe head and arm make direct contact with the device under test.
Used for viewing and magnifying the device under test and the probe tip.
The probe station's operation involves placing the wafer or chip in a chuck on a platform that positions the DUT at the center of the microscope's field of view. The manipulator, equipped with the probe arm and tip, is inserted into the platform, with the probe tip tailored to the specific test program. Precise positioning of the probe tip on the device is achieved by adjusting the manipulator accordingly. Lowering the platen brings the probe into contact with the wafer, allowing the testing process to commence.
For wafers housing multiple devices, the platen can be raised after testing one device, and the platform supporting the wafer can be shifted to the next device. The process of positioning the probe tip is repeated until all necessary devices have been tested. While this can be done manually, motorized stages and manipulators, coupled with a computer vision system connected to the microscope, can automate the process partially or fully. This not only enhances productivity and throughput but also reduces the labor required to execute multiple tests efficiently.