Innovative Semiconductor Reliability Evaluation and Assessment System

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9453-10-C-0032
Agency Tracking Number: F083-197-0497
Amount: $895,334.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2008
Solicitation Topic Code: AF083-197
Solicitation Number: 2008.3
Small Business Information
6595 North Oracle Road, Tucson, AZ, -
DUNS: 157955597
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 James Hofmeister
 Principal Investigator
 (520) 742-3300
Business Contact
 Douglas Goodman
Title: President and CEO
Phone: (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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