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Keithley Model 4200-SCS and KTEI 5.0 Software Extend Semiconductor Characterization into Stress-Measure and Reliability Testing

Cleveland, Ohio - December 11, 2003 - Keithley Instruments, Inc. (NYSE: KEI) today announced availability of its Model 4200-SCS Semiconductor Characterization System with its integral Keithley Test Environment-Interactive (KTEI) v5.0 software. The Model 4200-SCS/KTEI combination is the industry's leading semiconductor characterization system; now, with KTEI 5.0 installed, Model 4200-SCS users will have the industry's only standard test system for running not only semiconductor characterization tests, but also stress-measure and reliability tests for device lifetime analysis and quality assurance. The new software, which can be purchased separately as an upgrade, makes the Model 4200-SCS a nearly universal semiconductor test tool. It brings point-and-click simplicity to current-voltage measurements of devices such as transistors, resistors, and dielectrics on up to eight independent channels. These measurements are critical in materials research, modeling, development, and production of numerous semiconductor and related devices.

Running in either Windows® NT or XP environments, KTEI 5.0 provides advanced test definition, parameter analysis, graphing, and automation capabilities required for modern semiconductor characterization and reliability testing. In addition to core performance enhancements, KTEI 5.0 incorporates stress-measure capabilities to enable a variety of reliability tests. Sample tests provided with this software release include Hot Carrier Injection (HCI) (or Channel Hot Carrier (CHC)), Negative Bias Temperature Instability (NBTI), Time Dependent Dielectric Breakdown (TDDB), and Electro-Migration (EM). KTEI 5.0 also allows easy incorporation of user-coded test modules for complete test customization.

To preserve a customer's investment in test programming, KTEI 5.0 software can be user-installed on any existing Model 4200-SCS with no loss of data and no changes to the hardware or network connectivity. It is backward compatible, making it possible to run any test or program from a previous software version. A total system upgrade is also available that will bring an existing Model 4200-SCS up to leading edge hardware and software capabilities.

Application Background

Keithley's award winning Model 4200-SCS is the characterization system of choice for much of the semiconductor industry, which has a very large installed base of this equipment. This broad acceptance is a result of unequaled ease-of-use in the KTEI software, and a wide range of current and voltage source-measure capabilities. This has created customer demand for expanded application of the Model 4200-SCS into stress-measure and reliability testing.

This demand is driven by shrinking IC scale factors. As devices get smaller and gate oxides get thinner, device wear-out time becomes more of a problem. IC lifetimes have significantly decreased as manufacturers continue to push the limits of physics and manufacturability, making reliability testing more critical than ever. This is pushing IC manufacturers to wafer-level reliability testing earlier in the fabrication process as a more cost effective way of assuring reliable product performance. Bringing the proven measurement capabilities and ease-of-use of the Model 4200-SCS to reliability testing will lower a user's cost-of-test and decrease their test development time. The demand for this capability is particularly strong among material and device development labs, and process validation and monitoring groups.

The 4200-SCS platform is well suited for enhancements and product extensions. By moving to a Windows XP environment with an updated processor, Keithley continues to show its commitment to ongoing development of this product line. Windows XP is expected to be supported by Microsoft at least through 2007, and its use with the Model 4200-SCS will guarantee the system's usability for years to come. These factors led Keithley to introduce the KTEI 5.0 software package with stress-measure and reliability testing capabilities, and to offer processor and operating system upgrades for existing Model 4200-SCSs.

Product Details

There are three options for acquiring the new Model 4200-SCS/KTEI 5.0 system capabilities: a software only upgrade, a total system hardware and software upgrade, or a completely new system. KTEI 5.0 contains the full suite of software tools for the Model 4200-SCS and replaces the current software (v4.3.2 and earlier). Model 4200-SCS owners wanting an improved CPU and operating system should choose the total system upgrade. This upgrade will bring the customer's system up to the latest hardware capabilities, and install the Windows XP Operating System.

The new Model 4200-SCS/KTEI 5.0 system is an ideal dual-use machine, comfortably handling device characterization and reliability testing due to its superior sensitivity, sequencing capabilities, and built in Windows environment for easy data management and analysis. It offers the best balance of ease-of-use, flexibility, and low cost.

About Keithley Instruments

With more than 50 years of measurement expertise, Keithley Instruments has become a world leader in advanced electrical test instruments and systems from DC to RF (radio frequency) for semiconductor, wireless, optoelectronics, and other segments of the worldwide electronics industry. Engineers and scientists rely on Keithley's instrumentation to make even the most demanding electrical measurements with confidence. Keithley technology can be found on production floors of the most advanced electronics manufacturing facilities, in leading development labs, and in research departments of the world's prominent universities and corporate R&D centers.

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