SAN JOSE -- In a move to move strengthen its presence in semiconductor labs, Keithley Instruments Inc. here at Semicon West introduced a new high-speed DC characterization to for laboratories containing built-in software for easy setup, data collection, analysis, and data storage.
For the Cleveland-based Keithley, the new lab-grade instrument is also a move to increase its business in chip-production measurement systems by creating a much stronger link between the lab and the fab, said company managers. Historically, Keithley's base is in laboratory instruments, but the chip industry segment is an aberration for the company in that its main activities have been mostly in production test and parametric measurement, noted Gabriel A. Rosica, senior vice president.
"We have had some of the instruments that everyone has in semiconductor labs, but these have not been in the sweet spot," he added.
But 54-year-old Keithley Instruments is now pushing harder to establish new systems in chip labs as a way to also generate more production system sales. The new Model 4200-SCS performs lab-grade DC device characterization measurements with real-time plotting and analysis capabilities, said the company.
The system has an instrument structure that allows simultaneous measurements over eight different channels--compared to only one for its closest competitor, according to Keithley product managers. The increase in speed, sensitivity, and ease-of-use features are aimed at enabling laboratory engineers to solve production problems faster.
"This will enable us to provide better links between the lab and fab," said Rosica in an interview with SBN. "The goal is to enable users to move parametric libraries from one system to the other. No one has been able to do this yet."
The Model 4200-SCS supports CV meters, switching matrixes, and related test equipment, said the company. The hardware and software are designed for integration into a fab's data network. Files are stored in both Excel and ASCII formats for a greater range of compatibility, Keithley said.
--J. Robert Lineback