Innovative Semiconductor Reliability Evaluation and Assessment System

Award Information
Department of Defense
Air Force
Award Year:
Phase II
Award Id:
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
AF 08-197
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
6595 North Oracle Road, Tucson, AZ, -
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
James Hofmeister
Principal Investigator
(520) 742-3300
Business Contact:
Douglas Goodman
President and CEO
(520) 742-3300
Research Institution:
Ridgetop Group will design an innovative portable and user-programmable reliability evaluation system for nanotechnology CMOS PROcesses (PROChek) for use in satellite and other critical missions. In Phase I, Ridgetop Group demonstrated the feasibility through rigorous analysis and simulations, and now in Phase II, we will design and develop a prototype system. Air Force missions often require leading-edge semiconductor processes to achieve the Integrated Circuit (IC) performance targets sought in critical space applications. These processes require an effective tool to allow Engineers to design and deploy these ICs more rapidly. The significance of this innovation is that, for the first time, a portable and user-programmable reliability evaluation system (PROChek) for nanotechnology CMOS processes will be available for the space microelectronics design community. The system can be used for cost-effective and fast qualification of the intrinsic reliability of CMOS processes that are candidates for the fabrication of microelectronics on satellite missions. The system uses low-cost Multiproject Wafer (MPW) shuttle runs for the reliability characterization. BENEFIT: In addition to the space electronics community, design applications with low volume production requirements or rapid time-to-market objectives will benefit from this innovation. The tool will provide quick and deterministic assessment of the intrinsic reliability of the 65 nm (and smaller) process runs. Semiconductor fabrication companies do not normally provide design companies results from their internal reliability tests. Hence these customers have no idea of the degree of reliability of the processes they are using. To overcome this, Ridgetop's tool (PROChek) will provide a reliability assessment of advanced processes at just the cost of an MPW run and the tool. This will be a fraction of the combined cost of purchasing a mask set for a production run, and developing a test procedure that is comparable to our fully automated programmable test system.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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