Picking The Right Location For Probe Stations

Eliminate costly tool deployment issues inherent with low noise TestCell optimization.


High performance flicker noise or phase noise TestCells can be degraded by installing them in a bad location. And just like developing a high-performance system, finding a good location can be a time consuming and difficult task for the typical lab technician that is tasked with setting up the new prober. To do it right requires specialized measurement equipment and tools such as accelerometers, oscilloscopes, high performance low noise amplifiers (LNA’s), test software, magnetic flux probes, and more. Often, it requires specific applications knowledge on how to identify noise signatures and troubleshoot installation location issues.

Customers working with FormFactor have expressed the desire for a range of services addressing this need, and this has led to another world’s first for the CM300xi-ULN probing system: the first probe station with customer low-noise site surveys and low-noise installation verification.

  1. ULN Site Survey – Pre-installation Site Surveys can be performed by FormFactor-trained engineers to determine the best location to install the ULN system. Customers will pick typically two or three locations, and a site survey will be done at each. The site survey includes precision measurements of four critical noise sources:
  • Floor vibrations (μg over 0.1Hz to 1KHz range)
  • Magnetic field strength (AC milligauss)
  • Power-Line Noise, and
  • Power-Line THD (total harmonic distortion)

Comparing the survey results with the system requirements enables a good location to be selected that will limit unwanted environment noise from degrading the TestCell performance.

  1. ULN System Verification – Included with every CM300xi-ULN probing system is a ULN System Verification that is performed after the ULN probe station is installed. This specialized service using our supplied test equipment, is in addition to the standard probe station verification (50+ point check list) and is also performed by a FormFactor factory-certified engineer. Key product specification parameters are measured such as Spectral Noise Density (dBVrms/√Hz, 1Hz to 20MHz) and AC chuck noise (mV p-p, DC to 2.5GHz).

The CM300xi-ULN probe station is very much just plug it in and go. The ULN system significantly reduces setup time and allows lab engineers to focus on getting good device data, instead of having to troubleshoot grounding problems that cause bad data.

Cost savings can be significant, saving up six to ten weeks of wasted engineering time and two to three months of delayed product testing. And with high throughput testing automation capabilities, test labs and companies can focus on getting accurate data faster, making technology business data decisions more efficiently, and ensure the right products are delivered faster to market.

For more information on the CM300xi-ULN probe system, visit the website or download the data sheet here.

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