Share:  

Innovative Driver to AIoT Smart Environment - The World's First "High-throughput Wafer-level Probing System for Micro Gas Sensors"

Today, April 9, National Applied Research Laboratories (NARLabs) announced the world's first "High-throughput Wafer-level Probing System for Micro Gas Sensors", which can simultaneously test the performance of multiple gas sensors directly on the wafer. This system not only drastically reduces testing time, but also is able to evaluate the quality and grade of each chip before the chip is packaged, which significantly reduces the waste of packaging resources. In addition, the testing results can provide real-time feedback to front end process and then improve production efficiency and quality.

According to the latest research report of Yole Développement, the global gas sensor market is anticipated to rise to USD920 million in 2021 and to reach USD1 billion in 2022. Among them, the growth on smart handheld devices and wearable device segments is the largest, with a compound annual growth rate of 269% and 225%, respectively. Being a major semiconductor manufacturing country, Taiwan has an absolute advantage in entering the market of semiconductor based gas sensor.

Integrate multiple technologies to develop the world's first wafer level probing system

Before this new technology, testing and grading can only be performed after each of the gas sensor chip is packaged. The "High-throughput Wafer-level Probing System for Micro Gas Sensors" developed by Taiwan Instrument Research Institute (TIRI)/ NARLabs can perform testing and grading immediately after wafer front end process is completed, before the gas sensor is cut into individual chips and packaged.

At present, some sensor chips testing can only be performed gas responsibility test one by one after being packaged. Integrating key technologies of "automated optical registration system", "linear arrayed probing device", and "precisely positioning platform", "High-throughput Wafer-level Probing System for Micro Gas Sensors" uses linear arrayed prober to perform 10 chips testing at one time, which significantly increases testing speed and shortens testing time.

Gas sensor sensing capability must be tested while it is heated and surrounded with target gas. The existing probing system does not have this capability, so testing can only be performed after the wafer is cut into individual chips and packaged. "High-throughput Wafer-level Probing System for Micro Gas Sensors" integrating with key technologies such as "high temperature thermal chuck", "vacuum chamber" and "gas mixture supply system" can heat the wafer to working temperature and test the sensing capability with a probe in a testing chamber with desired gas mixture and concentrations. This world leading technology can evaluate the quality and grade of each chip before it is packaged, which greatly reduces the waste of packaging resources. In addition, the testing results can be fed back to front end process and improve production efficiency and quality.

Integrate Taiwan resources to help manufacturers enter the global market

"High-throughput Wafer-level Probing System for Micro Gas Sensors" is a customized product requested by EPISTAR, and jointly developed by TIRI, with leading vacuum and optoelectric-mechanical technology for years, and National Tsing-Hua University and Center for Measurement Standards/ITRI. EPISTAR has been developing hydrogen (H2), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), ammonia (NH3), ethanol (alcohol, CH3CH2OH) and carbon monoxide (CO), five kinds of gas sensors. With the technology of "High-throughput Wafer-level Probing System for Micro Gas Sensors", EPISTAR will be able to develop more gas sensors and create more business opportunity.

In the era of AIoT (AI+IoT) smart environment, sensors play a vital role. Taiwan Instrument Research Institute (TIRI)/ NARLabs applies highly integrated optoelectro-mechanical and vacuum technologies to create an innovative high-performance "High-throughput Wafer-level Probing System for Micro Gas Sensors" that will be a sharp weapon to lead Taiwan manufacturers to occupy the sensor market and get into AIoT smart environment.

The World's First "High-throughput Wafer-level Probing System for Micro Gas Sensors" developed by TIRI

The six core technologies of this system.

From left to right: Chi-Chung Kei (Division director of ALD Process and Equipment Development Division of TIRI), Fong-Zhi Chen (Deputy director general of TIRI), Yao-Joe Yang (Director general of TIRI), Kuang-Chong Wu (Vice president of Narlabs), Yu-Lin Wang (Professor of NTHU), C. L. Hsu (Associate Vice President of InGaN RD group of EPISTAR Corp.), Blake Chen (Deputy division director of Intelligent Optical Inspection Technology Division of TIRI)