Microprobe Surpasses 1,000 Shipments for Copper Pillar Probing

SAN JOSE, CA, July 12, 2011

MicroProbe announced today that more than 1,000 Vx and Mx vertical MEMS probe cards now are deployed worldwide in copper pillar applications. Once restricted to use in high-end logic devices, the copper pillar bump process now is seeing rapid adoption by manufacturers of mobile System-on-Chip [SOC] devices for its cost, reliability, and performance advantages.

Copper pillars function as an interconnect structure that helps reduce packaging costs while boosting device I/O density and performance. A recent report on the flip-chip market and associated technologies by research firm Yole Développement predicts that copper pillar bumping will become the most popular flip-chip attachment method by 2013.

However, copper pillars present considerable challenges to conventional wafer-probe processes. Specifically, copper is vulnerable to oxidization during the manufacturing process. This makes it challenging to maintain stable contact resistance during probing to ensure optimal device yield. In addition, the copper pillar process enables higher density packaging, shrinking from the 150 µm-pitch regime of solder-ball process technology to well below
90 µm.

MicroProbe’s vertical MEMS probe cards address these unique technical challenges while decreasing the overall cost of test. Built on a scalable common platform with application-specific probe designs, the company’s products provide users with flexibility to choose the optimal configuration for probing over under-bump-metallization, directly on copper pillars, and on solder-capped pillars. This combination of performance, extendibility, and flexibility makes the products suitable for other emerging packaging applications like embedded wafer-level packaging and through-silicon vias.

Unique to the MicroProbe products are the following key features:

  • Throughput: Multi-DUT to lower the cost of test.
  • Performance: Ultrastable contact resistance to optimize test yields in copper applications.
  • Extendibility: Flip-chip pitch scalable to sub-50 µm in full-array configurations.
  • Flexibility: Application-specific probe designs, customizable for specific requirements of various prebump and bump applications.

MicroProbe’s CEO Dr. Mike Slessor noted, “This milestone is directly linked to our customers’ migration to advanced packaging technologies. Test challenges, whether economic or technical, cannot hinder the process innovation that will continue to fuel our industry’s advancement and growth. That’s why our business model and product strategy delivers a powerful, scalable common platform that can be rapidly and easily customized for specific customer requirements and packaging technologies. We’re committed to helping them extend their technology and market reach by equipping them with advanced probe cards that deliver high performance at a lower cost of ownership.”

About MicroProbe

MicroProbe provides advanced nonmemory probe cards to global semiconductor manufacturers. The company’s products and technologies lower the overall cost of test by delivering higher yield and throughput and better quality die. Headquartered in California, MicroProbe maintains a network of manufacturing, sales, and support operations worldwide. The company is privately held with investors that include Flywheel Ventures, Intel Capital, and Gemini Investors. www.microprobe.com

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