BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – SkyWater Technology has announced it has established a new cryogenic lab to characterize random telegraph signal (RTS) noise for read-out integrated circuits (ROICs). Mitigating RTS noise is crucial to improving the image quality and performance for ROIC customers in various applications such as night vision, military surveillance, and industrial and automotive thermal imaging.
SkyWater’s cryo lab utilizes FormFactor’s leading cryogenic probe system that enables precise on-wafer measurements in extreme environments. SkyWater partnered with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Arizona State University’s electrical engineering teams to develop test chips which are used to determine how much RTS noise exists for various transistor types and temperatures. From these measurements, enhancements are made for improved imaging.
For ROIC customers, it is crucial to minimize RTS noise as it becomes a limiting factor to image sensor performance. SkyWater’s cryo lab detects and measures noise which enables mitigation efforts for RTS effects. The new cryogenic noise characterization capabilities at SkyWater further enhance the company’s ability to streamline process and product development for advanced imaging systems in both defense and specialty industrial applications.
FormFactor’s high-performance probes are optimized for testing of cooled infrared sensors and cutting-edge technologies that operate at cryogenic temperatures, making it possible to collect accurate data across a comprehensive range of application environments. FormFactor’s cryogenic probe system acts as a freezer, bringing down the sample environment to extremely cold temperatures and utilizes a state of the art E4727B Advanced Low-Frequency Noise Analyzer (A-LFNA) system from Keysight Technologies to measure the noise. Furthermore, FormFactor’s Advanced Cryogenic Lab, which launched in 2022, played a crucial role in test development by providing early access to a cryogenic wafer prober while SkyWater’s cryo lab was being prepared.
“The FormFactor cryogenic probe system, with the ability to measure at the wafer level down to seven Kelvin, positions SkyWater to advance ROIC technology to its customers,” said Dr. Mike Slessor, CEO of FormFactor. “Our cryogenic test and measurement product portfolio, expanding from 10 millikelvin to 77 Kelvin, enables demanding applications such as ROICs and quantum computing to customers worldwide. We are thrilled with this SkyWater and Keysight collaboration.”
“Facilitating our cryo lab was a successful collaboration among many partners, both public and private,” said SkyWater Chief Technology Officer Dr. Steven Kosier. “With an aim to advance ROIC technology and enhance domestic capabilities for our customers, we invested in FormFactor’s state of the art cryogenic probe system. By partnering with ASU and UTC, we were able to quickly develop the test chips to measure and characterize RTS noise which speeds up the development process.”
According to a 2022 Transparency Market Research report, the ROIC market is expected to witness sustainable growth with North America projected to dominate the global market. The projected growth is due to an increase in usage of infrared (IR) imaging systems as they become important in healthcare, aerospace and defense, industrial, and automotive applications. Advancement in IR imaging systems can help in several applications such as night vision, disaster rescue, homing and tracking, ecology and weather forecasting, surveillance, predictive inspection and maintenance, remote temperature sensing, short range communication, spectroscopy, and medical diagnostic and treatment.