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Agilent Technologies Introduces Industry-First Waveform Generator / Fast Measurement Unit for NBTI Application, High-Speed IV Characterization


New Module Expands Agilent B1500A Capability for Emerging Ultrafast NBTI and Other Applications Requiring Fast Measurement

SANTA CLARA, Calif..- Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today introduced a waveform generator / fast measurement unit (WGFMU) for its B1500A semiconductor device analyzer that performs the high-speed measurements required to characterize ultrafast Negative Bias Temperature Instability (NBTI) and other applications such as pulsed IV, Random Telegraph Signal (RTS), new types of non-volatile resistive memory like PRAM/ReRAM, etc.

Designed for researchers and reliability engineers, the Agilent B1530A WGFMU is the first self-contained module to offer the combination of arbitrary linear waveform generation (ALWG) with synchronized fast current or voltage (IV) measurement as fast as 5 ns (nanoseconds), enabling accurate high-speed IV characterization. Its capabilities resolve the problem of ultrahigh-speed NBTI characterization and various other applications faced by engineers and scientists working on next-generation semiconductor devices.

As semiconductor device geometries shrink below 65 nm (nanometers), device reliability becomes more important because of new materials, new structures and higher IC operating temperatures. NBTI in particular causes significant threshold-voltage shift under negative bias and high-temperature conditions, making it one of the most critical reliability concerns for advanced semiconductor processes. Many NBTI studies show that the measured threshold-voltage shift depends strongly on both the type of applied stress and the time after stress. Therefore, engineers must evaluate transistor characteristics as quickly as possible after the stress is removed. In addition, because the type of stress also influences the magnitude of the threshold-voltage degradation and, in turn, the device life-time estimates, measurements are required not only after DC stress, but also after various types of AC stress.

Prior to the introduction of Agilent’s B1530A, no available solution could capture the transient characteristics quickly enough (within less than 100 microseconds) after removal of the stress and with sufficient measurement resolution for ultrahigh-speed NBTI testing. With its unique combination of ALWG and current sampling as fast as 5 ns, the new WGFMU solves the toughest challenge in ultrahigh-speed NBTI testing by providing the industry’s first solution able to start the current measurement within 1 microsecond after removing AC or DC stress.

“Agilent’s test and measurement solutions allow our customers to solve complex technology challenges, such as ultrahigh-speed NBTI testing,” said Minoru Ebihara, vice president and general manager of Agilent’s Hachioji Semiconductor Test Division. “For manufacturers to accurately predict device reliability and lifetimes, it is critical to capture this NBTI data. The new WGFMU will give our semiconductor device analyzer customers this capability and provide them with greater flexibility and return on their investment.”

Wide Range of Measurements in a Single, Flexible Solution

The Agilent B1530A waveform generator / fast measurement unit module for the B1500A semiconductor device analyzer provides researchers and reliability engineers with powerful AC and DC waveform generation and high-speed measurement capabilities for a wide range of measurements in a single, flexible solution. It enables the accurate study of static as well as dynamic characteristics, and it can be used to solve future device development challenges. For example, it can replace existing pulsed IV solutions that use separate pulse generators and oscilloscopes. The new B1530A module can measure transient current directly with resolution down to 2 nA (nanoamps) without the external resistor and other complex cabling and custom circuitry required by existing pulsed IV solutions. In addition to the pulsed IV application, the B1530A module evaluates other types of transient or time-domain characteristics, such as Random Telegraph Signal (RTS) and new types of non-volatile resistive memory such as PRAM/ReRAM.

The waveform generator / fast measurement unit provides measurement capabilities not offered by existing solutions. It can be used for nanoamp low-level current measurements with sampling rates as fast as 5 ns. This covers measurement areas that are too fast for SMUs and impossible to reach with an oscilloscope. It has a fast ALWG capability with synchronized current or voltage measurement. Each module has two channels, and the B1500A can support up to five modules for a total of 10 available channels per unit, making it easy to configure multiple channels for parallel device testing.

High-Speed IV Characterization for Multiple Applications

Agilent’s new WGFMU will be offered in two versions: the B1530A for general-purpose fast-measurement applications, and the B1543A for advanced NBTI testing. The B1543A advanced NBTI testing solution will include the B1530A module as well as sample application programs. Customers can configure multiple B1530A modules to perform parallel NBTI device testing to significantly reduce test time.

Key Benefits of Advanced NBTI/PBTI Solution (which includes the B1530A):

* ability to apply both DC and various type of AC stress;
* fast spot-threshold-voltage measurement starting within 1 microsecond after removal of the applied stress (essential for ultrafast NBTI);
* rapid sweep-threshold-voltage measurement, supported in conjunction with fast-spot measurement and ALWG capability;
* ability to perform NBTI testing over a wide range of times (from 1 microsecond to seconds);
* synchronized measurement for up to 10 channels (essential for parallel NBTI testing); and
* sample software for NBTI testing.

U.S. Pricing and Availability

The Agilent B1530A Waveform Generator / Fast Measurement Unit and B1543A Advanced NBTI/PBTI Solution will be available for order Sept. 1. Price of a typical configuration of the B1500A, including a B1530A WGFMU, starts at approximately $55,000.


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