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As we all know, “chips” - pieces of highly refined semiconducting material etched with many circuits and billions of components, make our 21st century lifestyle possible. Integrated circuit manufacturing is a complex process with many steps that not only include the fabrication of the ICs themselves, but also the bonding, packaging, and testing to make a complete component used to transmit input and output signals. They’re found performing data processing, data storage, timing, illumination, and countless other functions in smart phones, computers, televisions, medical devices, autos, and other devices we use on a daily basis. Many are in server farms where data processing and retention occurs for our web searches and data storage. Others can be found in everyday items like common household appliances thanks to the recent expansion of “Internet of Things” (IoT) device engineering. Due to the sheer number of devices produced and the need to supply them at an affordable price, testing is a critical part of the process flow on both the “front end” and “back end” of the integrated circuit manufacturing process.

The Need for Extensive IC Testing

Due to the complexity of the manufacturing processes used in IC production, 100% of all ICs, both logic and memory, are tested to eliminate less-than-acceptable performing units. Defects can have many causes thanks to the numerous steps required to build a finished IC from a bare wafer of semiconducting material. One example is the possibility of gaps in the resistive layers…Continue

Semiconductor Test Probe Configurations

There are a number of technologies used to produce the test needles mounted in the probe card that vary by test level (before packaging or after packaging) and IC function. Many wafer and die level test probes are produced from metallic wires fabricated with alloys which were developed by Deringer-Ney. Common types of wire needle configurations include…Continue

Increasing Demand on Semiconductor Test Probes

Over the years, as IC technology advanced across the entire fabrication environment, the physical size of the transistor had become smaller and smaller. While Moore’s Law may not continue indefinitely, the march toward IC size reduction and higher component density still continues…Continue

Precious Metal Alloys for IC Testing

Deringer-Ney has been supplying high performance wire to the probe industry since the 1970s. Most of the needle probe alloys we provide are heat-treatable Pd-Ag-Cu alloys. The alloy compositions have evolved over time to balance the demands of smaller pad sizes (resulting in the need for decreased wire diameter) and increased CCC…Continue

Other Considerations for IC Testing and Summary

In addition to these characteristics, there are other properties that affect overall test probe performance. For example, it is important to establish and maintain good metal-to-metal contact during the mating of the probe with the DUT. Very light contact force will result in unstable contact resistance and false negatives resulting in a low process yield…Continue


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