Special Developments

for Microscopy

Kammrath & Weiss GmbH

Im Defdahl 10F

44141 Dortmund


Tel.: +49-231-880858-0

Fax.: +49-231-880858-19

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"Pico Prober" FEI 200

Prober Module with 4 needles for the FEI 200 FIB Specimen Stage; four needles, bending piezo touchdown. Fits the FEI 200 FIB, or Philips XL30 FIB Stage.
The photo shows a substage type IC-testing device with four motorized probing arms, making optimum use of the specimen chamber of the Focused Ion Beam System "FEI 200".
New sub-miniaturized motors made the very flat structure of the crosstables possible. Standard positioning accuracy is 100 nm under visual observation, but there is an option for built-in piezo translators, increasing the movement accuracy to 10 nanometers. Three motors are mounted to each one of the crosstables driving the prober needles in X, Y, and Z from a small desktop controller, covering 20 mm x 20 mm horizontally, and 5 mm in Z.
The needles are pre-aligned manually before evacuating the specimen chamber. Piezo touchdown works very gentle, far superior to any mechanical fine drive. The probing device rests on a platform which is attached to the specimen table by four screws, leaving the turntable free, therefore the specimen can rotate and move in Z independently.
The Module on the FIB Stage
The Prober-Module fits the base platform of the stage of the FEI 200 FIB, leaving the rotation and Z-drive (in the center of the stage) independent. With the whole module riding on top of the stage, the needles may stay in contact with the IC surface, while the whole setup is moving in X, and Y with the main specimen stage, to search for defects within the IC. The specimen chamber has enough room to tilt the module a small amount (about 15 degrees to the left).
Special small conical holder tips take the needles straight, at 45, or at 90 relative to the holder arm. The signal cables are shielded, but very flexible. A large vacuum feedthrough flange with high frequency compatible plugs is in the shipment volume. Four small standoffs allow using the module at air, for example, on the crosstable of a light microscope.
This module is compatible with the XL-30 Scanning Electron Microscope and others.
Desktop controller, driving the sub-miniaturized motors of the manipulator crosstables, digital potentiometer for motor speed ranging from 1.5 mm down to as slow as about 0,2 µm per second. The "Panic" button lifts all piezos when hit. There is a "communications window" for action control. The controller is a small desktop unit connected to a larger power electronics which may be placed behind the FIB. Software development currently under way.
Manipulator Movement - Miniaturized Crosstables
The coverage of the needle movement is 20 mm x 20 mm x 5 mm, topped by 10 µm piezo fine shift in each direction.
The development of the whole "Pico Prober" series became possible, after designing the miniaturized XYZ-crosstables shown in this photo. Instead of 65 mm high, as earlier models were, it is now just 20 mm tall.
This made other designs possible, such as airlock-interchangeable prober modules. Note the arm extending to the left. It is the touch alarm that indicates reaching the end of travel in XY. For Z there is also a built-in alarm. Fine touchdown is done by a fine shift piezo element, controlled by a DC signal.
This movement principle is magnitudes superior to any mechanical touchdown device. One of the main advantages is that there is no lateral hysteresis at all (side shifting, when reversing the direction of the vertical piezo movement). The downward "coarse movement" is motorized, it can move extremely slowly. Many users find, that the motorized vertical movement is so fine they almost never use the Z-Piezos.
There is a "panic" button on the controller, lifting up all 4 needles together. In the relaxed status, the piezos are "short", this ensures that the needles move away from the specimen when a power failure occurs, so they will not accidentally crash into the specimen.
The prober module will work with chips held in place by small clips, as well as on packaged ICs. The specimens are mounted to the FEI stage, independent from the probing device, therefore they can rotate freely. The probing arms are mechanically adjustable before pumpdown, to optimize their coverage.
The "Dry Dock - a Platform for Work at Air
The "Dry Dock" is a duplication of the worktable of the FIB that makes all operations and setup at air easy. It is equipped with the same ZIF-connectors, so it can be run directly from the electronics controller. Therefore, the module can be used at air, for instance under a light (or laser scanning) microscope.
Dimensions of the Module: Size approximately 230 mm x 130 mm x 40 mm. Weight: 1550 g
Further Products in this Field of Work
The Cryo "Stages" can be combined with manipulators (fixed or detachable). Various other Prober Modules with more than two needles and piezo-driven manipulator stages in XY(Z) - "High Precision Probers" with 10nm movement resolution.

Pic.1: 4-Needles "Pico Prober Module"

Pic.1: 4-Needles "Pico Prober Module".

Pic.2: Four Prober Needles; Overview.

Pic.2: Four Prober Needles; Overview.

Pic.3: 4 tips on a 50nm structure.

Pic.3: 4 tips on a 50nm structure.

Pic.4: Touch down close up view.

Pic.4: Touch down close up view.

Pic.5: The Module on the Stage

Pic.5: The Module on the Stage.

Pic.6: Desktop controller

Pic.6: Desktop controller.

Pic.7: Miniaturized XYZ-crosstable

Pic.7: Miniaturized XYZ-crosstable.

Pic.8: The "Dry Dock"

Pic.8: The "Dry Dock".