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Keithley Announces Joint Development Partnership with France’s CEA Leti Laboratory

Published on July 19, 2007 at 11:09 AM

Keithley Instruments, Inc., a leader in solutions for emerging measurement needs, announced that it has entered into a Joint Development Partnership (JDP) surrounding semiconductor device material testing technology with CEA Leti, one of the world’s most sophisticated semiconductor development laboratories. The JDP calls for Keithley and CEA Leti to research methods for characterizing advanced semiconductor materials and devices that support DC, high frequency, and RF-level signals on both micro- and nano-level structures. CEA Leti will use Keithley RF-enabled semiconductor test equipment as part of its broad portfolio of research projects in order to expand and enhance understanding of the performance of semiconductor devices that perform at the highest levels.

CEA Leti is a CEA laboratory located in France and is one of the main European applied research centers in electronics. Its activity is more than 85 percent devoted to research that is finalized with outside partners. CEA Leti employs 1000 people, works with 200 partners, and manages a portfolio of 1,300 inventions protected by patents.

Keithley has established a leadership position for reliable RF semiconductor measurements since the deployment of the industry’s first parametric tester capable of RF-level production test at the wafer level, the Model S680 DC/RF Parametric Test System. In a single test system, the Model S680 combines parallel testing capability, high DC sensitivity, femtoamp-level resolution, and RF s-parameter measurements up to 40GHz. This provides the industry's highest throughput and a lower cost of ownership for measurements at the 65nm node and beyond.

“As semiconductor technology pushes the upper limits to achieving RF-level signals and device miniaturization to nano levels, measurement technology must not only keep pace but even lead researchers’ ability to build and test these devices,” explained Mark Hoersten, Keithley vice president, business management. “Our partnership with CEA Leti is a unique opportunity to create new measurement technology at the point where many of our customers’ technologies converge – semiconductor, RF/wireless, and nanotechnology.”

“The ability to make high quality electrical measurements is crucial to advance the ‘More Moore’ and ‘More Than Moore’ initiatives forward,” explained Olivier Demolliens, head of the Nanotech Division at CEA Leti. “Our electrical experts need the finest data to understand, model, and improve our devices. The partnership with Keithley makes it possible to help develop and boost the measurement technology to coincide with the needs of research and industry experts. So, it is a major bonus for CEA Leti to be involved with such a quality measurement company as Keithley.”

The Keithley-CEA Leti JDP comes at a time when CEA Leti itself is strengthening its own investment in nanotechnology with the recent opening of the new MINATEC® innovation center. CEA Leti is one of the main drivers behind the formation of MINATEC®, which will function as Europe’s main Centre of Excellence in Micro- and Nano-technology, bringing together more than 4,000 researchers, industrialists, and teaching staff in Grenoble, France. CEA Leti reports that MINATEC® will focus the activities of researchers, teachers, and manufacturers working in the micro- and nanotechnologies on a single campus and allow the development of joint initiatives to increase and quicken the pace of innovation and industrial value creation.

In addition to its parametric test architecture, Keithley’s award-winning Model 4200-SCS Semiconductor Characterization System plays an important role in device characterization as a particularly useful tool in pulse testing of miniaturized and fragile devices. The Model 4200-SCS is a lab-based system that incorporates tightly integrated DC and pulse measurement capabilities with complete application packages for turn-key solutions. The Model 4200-SCS Pulse I-V package supplies instrumentation, connections, and software that allow semiconductor engineers to take ultra-short pulse measurements on tiny transistors while they are still on an integrated circuit wafer.

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