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Agilent Introduces Semiconductor Device Analyzer with Integrated CV and IV Measurement Capability

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TRADE NEWS: Agilent Technologies Introduces Semiconductor Device Analyzer with Integrated CV and IV Measurement Capability

B1500A Provides Complete, Self-Contained and Expandable Solution for Parametric Characterization and Analysis

PALO ALTO, Calif., April 4, 2005 -- Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today introduced a Windows®-based semiconductor device analyzer that integrates capacitance versus voltage (CV) and current versus voltage (IV) measurements into a single instrument, saving semiconductor test engineers time and increasing productivity. The Agilent B1500A provides a complete, self-contained and expandable solution for parametric characterization and analysis capable of handling 65 nm lithographies and beyond. The modular instrument has a 10-slot configuration and supports Agilent’s new EasyEXPERT software, providing an intuitive “top down” approach to device characterization.

Semiconductor device characterization is a complicated endeavor for engineers and scientists working on current and future semiconductor process technologies. The Windows-based graphical user interface is familiar, even to new engineers who are inexperienced with parametric measurement instruments.

“The Agilent B1500A with the EasyEXPERT software turns every user into a parametric test expert,” said Minoru Ebihara, vice president and general manager of Agilent’s Hachioji Semiconductor Test Division. “Typical semiconductor test instruments require expert knowledge of each hardware feature and the multiple settings required to make a measurement. The B1500A allows users to be immediately productive, thus maximizing return on investment.”

The new EasyEXPERT software supplies a library of device application tests that the user selects based on the type of measurement required. After making a few simple selections, such as identifying the technology by classification and selecting the appropriate device type, the software selects the appropriate settings, makes the measurements, analyzes the data and displays it graphically. Using the Windows-based EasyEXPERT software, even a beginner can start making productive measurements within a few minutes of powering up the B1500A.

Engineers face additional challenges when both IV and CV measurements are required for characterization. Most instruments are designed for only one type of measurement, which means that two different instruments must be used for the tests, requiring mastery of two interfaces. Proper connection of the capacitance measurement unit (CMU) cables to the device under test (DUT) and precise cable length compensation are necessary to ensure accurate CV measurement results. Also, CMUs use BNC connectors, whereas source measurement units (SMUs) use triaxial connectors. Switching between these incompatible connectors can be difficult and confusing, especially when using positioners on a wafer prober.

The Agilent B1500A offers a high degree of flexibility to help reduce the cost of test. Its 10-slot configuration supports three SMU types:

  • High-resolution SMU (HRSMU)
  • Medium-power SMU (MPSMU)
  • High-power SMU (HPSMU)

A multi-frequency capacitance measurement unit (MFCMU) is also available, and a 4.2 amp ground unit (GNDU) is always included with the B1500A mainframe.

Besides integrating CV measurement into the device analyzer mainframe, the MFCMU possesses many measurement capabilities not available on comparable external capacitance meters. It can measure capacitance at up to 5 MHz and provide ± 25 V of DC bias. In addition, the combination of the MFCMU and SMUs within the same instrument enables these measurement resources to be more tightly coupled. When joined using the B1500A SMU CMU Unify Unit (SCUU), the MFCMU and SMU combination supports capacitance measurement with ± 100 V of DC bias.

The B1500A SCUU provides a convenient and foolproof means to connect two SMUs and the MFCMU together and to switch between these different measurement resources without using a separate external switching matrix. The B1500A software handles all of the IV-CV switching, compensation and return path issues. To begin making accurate measurements, the user only needs to select an IV or CV algorithm and push a button. More information is available at

The flexibility to tailor a measurement solution helps reduce cost of test by ensuring test engineers buy only what they currently need, leaving room to grow as their needs change. Because of its low-current, low-voltage and compensated capacitance measurement capabilities, the Agilent B1500A can be used for a wide range of characterization needs for semiconductor devices and emerging materials, including nanotechnology devices.

An atto-sense and switch unit (ASU) is also available to provide measurement resolution at 0.1 femtoamp (100 attoamps) and 0.5 microvolt when needed for measurements such as MOSFET Idoff and memory-cell leakage characterization. The ASU can be connected to the high-resolution SMU and the CMU so engineers can easily switch between precision IV and compensated CV measurements.

U.S. Pricing and Availability

The Agilent B1500A semiconductor device analyzer is available for order now. Pricing starts at $45,000 for a basic 4-SMU IV measurement solution and $58,000 for a basic CV-IV measurement solution. The product is expected to ship in August 2005.

About Agilent Technologies

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is a global technology leader in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis. The company’s 28,000 employees serve customers in more than 110 countries. Agilent had net revenue of $7.2 billion in fiscal year 2004. Information about Agilent is available on the Web at

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