Robotic probe system aims to reduce semiconductor cleanroom space


MUNICH, Germany—A patent-pending Cluster Probing System (CPS), developed by SUSS MicroTec AG (, is designed to combine multiple semiconductor test configurations in one system without worker intervention. The company says its fully-automated system will minimize cleanroom space in the fab, and use 40 percent less floor space than individual production probers.

The CPS concept consists of a family of high-throughput probe systems configured around a single high-speed robotic material-handling unit. The solution's modular hardware/software can be upgraded and reconfigured in the field as test needs change, and the advanced software allows for multiple test protocols to be run on the same wafer, without worker intervention. Each probe module can be operated in manual, semiautomatic, or fully automatic mode, and removed from the cluster to be used as stand-alone probe systems.

The Cluster Probe System automates multiple semiconductor test protocols in one tool, saving time and cleanroom real estate in the fab.
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Dubbing it a "back-end test system with the production efficiency found in front-end fab tools," SUSS says the CPS will be especially suitable for cost-efficient testing of optoelectronics, MEMs, and high-frequency components—all of which require special test set-ups and high customization. With the CPS, Suss says, each prober within the cluster can be configured according to the specific application. Testing capabilities include non-electrical, double-side probing, characterization and reliability.

The first installed systems are being used for testing LEDs at the wafer level.