Precious Metal Alloys for IC Wafer Testing

Deringer-Ney has been supplying high performance wire to the wafer probe industry since the 1970s.  Most of the wafer 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.  Although we cannot yet accurately predict CCC or MAC from just the physical and mechanical wire properties, there are a number of properties that do allow a reasonable trend analysis of a probe’s performance.  Following is a list of the Deringer-Ney alloys that had been used for many years for IC test probes and a comparison of their relevant properties. 

Paliney® 7 was used in the original cobra probe development by IBM in the 1970s and is still used today for cantilever probes, straight probes, and cobra probes.

The demand for smaller diameter probes created two challenges for the probe designers.  The reduced cross-section created a rapid temperature rise with the applied current.  These higher operating temperatures resulted in a loss of mechanical properties and a concern about increased CR due to oxidation. These concerns led to the development of Paliney® H3C.  This alloy was designed specifically for High Hardness and High Conductivity (H3C) and has the benefits of both a 2x reduction in bulk resistivity and an increase in mechanical properties relative to Paliney® 7.  It has been used for cobra probes, cantilever probes, and other vertical needles.  Due to H3C’s higher hardness, it is also used for long life pogo pin tips.

Paliney® C was introduced to offer slightly higher conductivity and improved formability.  It is used mostly for cobra probes and straight needles.  Our latest alloy, Paliney® 25 (US patent 10,385,424), has the highest CCC of Deringer-Ney’s family of age-hardenable Pd alloys.  It nearly doubles the bulk conductivity of H3C and still maintains the mechanical properties equivalent to Paliney® 7 or Paliney® C.




Continue Reading...Effects of Contact Force and Temperature on IC Wafer Test Probes  

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