Success Story – Fully Automatic MEMS Vacuum Prober System - Taiwan

January 21, 2023


Customer Requirements:

Fully automatic vacuum probing system for testing 150 mm and 200 mm MEMS wafers in a production environment.  System had to operate at vacuum levels to 10-6 torr and be turn-key to include the prober, black bodies, test instrumentation, and the graphical user interface (GUI).

SemiProbe Solution:

Fully Automatic MEMS Wafer Probe System


Wafer Prober Loader.                                                             MEMS Prober Arm Card

Key FA-8 VP System Components:

  • Vibration Isolation Table (VIT) with casters and leveling feet
  • Vacuum Chamber with large top viewport, front-opening door, side-opening load port, and several different types of flanges for connectors. The top is removable for complete chamber access.
  • Programmable Wafer Stage – X, Y, Z, and theta with control electronics. X and Y travel > 200 mm.
  • Customized mechanical clamping chuck to handle wafers (150 mm and 200 mm)
  • Large Gantry for the mounting of optics and three (3) black bodies, vibrometers and more. Gantry has 600 mm of programmable X movement so all mounts can automatically be moved over the viewport. Every mount has independent X,Y, and Z movements and can be locked into position.
  • Compound Zoom Optics - has 12x of zoom, a motorized focus, and over 200 mm of working distance. Optics provides high magnification and excellent resolution. The Optics stage provides 100 mm x 100 mm X and Y manual microscope movement and 80 mm of pneumatic Z microscope lift. Microscope pivots out of the way to provide easy top removal.
  • CCTV System – includes color camera, 24” color monitor and accessories
  • PILOT Software Suite – includes Navigator, Wafer Map, Auto Alignment, Material Handling and
  • Graphical User Interface (GUI) modules
  • Test Instrumentation – various Keithley instruments and black body controllers
  • Vacuum Pumps and Precision Control – high-speed vacuum pumps for independent probe system and material handling chamber pump down
  • Material Handling Unit (MHU) with Load Lock – allows the MHU to pass wafers from the cassette chamber to the wafer prober and back while under vacuum
  • Cassette Station – holds customized cassette with wafer carriers for 150 mm and 200 mm wafers
  • EMO/Safety Interlocks – for MHU, probe system door, and top
  • Probe Card Holder – system uses a probe card holder and multiple cable harness kits to accommodate a family of probe cards with few to multiple probers
  • Programmable Manipulators – up to eight (8) controlled via joystick or PC. System Operation:

The probe system can be operated in manual, semiautomatic, and fully automatic modes. The material handling and probe system can be pumped down or returned to atmospheric temperature independently of each other. While a wafer is being probed in the probe system chamber the user can close the load lock and bring the MHU chamber back to atmosphere to change out the cassette. It is then pumped back down to the desired vacuum level to prevent interruptions in production. Large front plexiglass door can be opened to change wafers, probe cards or programmable manipulator probe tips.

Field Upgrade Path:

The vacuum probe system can initially be purchased as a semiautomatic system and field upgraded at a later date to add the material handling unit to become fully automatic. 


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Topics: Application - MEMS, Application - Vacuum

Author: Denis Place

Denis Place is one of the founders of SemiProbe and has more than 35 years of experience working in the international semiconductor industry. He has degrees in electrical engineering and business management. Place is in a unique position, because he personally used and worked with probing systems for many years before starting his own semiconductor probing company.
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SemiProbe Capabilities & Applications Guide for Wafer Characterization & Testing