SOURCE: Antares Advanced Test Technologies

October 08, 2007 20:31 ET

Chipmakers Conduct True Production-Level Kelvin Testing of QFN Packages That Power Latest Consumer Devices With New Socket From Semiconductor Test Supplier Antares Advanced Test Technologies

Antares Releases "Quatrix Kelvin QFN" Sockets to Mitigate Resistance During Test of Fine-Pitch Packages, Drive First-Pass Yield

VANCOUVER, WA and SANTA CLARA, CA--(Marketwire - October 8, 2007) - The world's largest supplier of semiconductor test sockets, Antares Advanced Test Technologies, has released a new test socket, Quatrix™ Kelvin QFN, which uses a single set of photolithographic-based contacts with two distinct electrical connections per each terminal on an integrated circuit (IC) package to allow chipmakers to migrate Kelvin-configuration testing of QFN packages from the lab to mass production down to 0.5mm pitch, according to Steve Strauss, VP/GM of Antares' Test Interface Division.

Chipmakers often look to measure resistance at 1mOhms using Kelvin connections to minimize the affects of the socket and printed circuit board (PCB) on test readings of the latest fine-pitch QFN packages that are sensitive to electrical configurations and peripheral resistance, according to Ila Pal, Antares' product development manager for Quatrix Kelvin QFN.

Kelvin testing generally involves the use of Kelvin clips to establish four electrical connections with a device under test (DUT) to eliminate resistance from a test apparatus.

The continued shrinking, however, of IC packages to produce smaller and faster end-user devices has effectively prevented chipmakers from using traditional contacts to establish precise production-level Kelvin connections with DUTs to measure performance, Pal said.

Antares' latest socket, he said, uses a proprietary modular cartridge of contacts, or Quatrix, to help give test engineers the pointing accuracy and minimal true position tolerance they need to perform Kelvin testing on the latest fine-pitch QFNs.

The contact set's design allows Quatrix Kelvin QFN to have a lifespan of more than 1,000,000 cycles, deliver relatively low contact force of less than 8g per contact at operating height and average Cres of 27mOhms, according to Pal.

The socket's design is largely intended to help chipmakers experience high first-pass yield during production-level Kelvin QFN testing and reduce maintenance -- including load-board damage -- and test-related costs during the process, Strauss said.

"Kelvin testing is a great way to get accurate data, but when you look at QFN packages, their fine feature sizes and hard tolerances of dimension have basically made Kelvin interconnections impossible during production," Pal said. "Our goal, really, was to create an interconnect technology that would give the Kelvin configuration to the test community's QFN segment."

Pal added that Quatrix Kelvin QFN's field replaceable contact sets and wiping-action contact also work to reduce production downtime for chipmakers.

Antares' Quatrix Kelvin QFN test socket has the following specifications: bandwidth at -1dB = 19.5 GHz, which supports high-speed RF testing; self-inductance = 0.33nH; hot temp +125 degrees C; compliance = 0.18mm; and current capability of a Kelvin pair = 3 amps at 10 sec.

About Antares Advanced Test Technologies

Antares Advanced Test Technologies is reducing the cost of semiconductor test by concentrating on high-sensitivity areas such as yield and the integration of test disciplines, focusing on customer support, delivering innovative technologies and offering a single point of contact for semiconductor test cell requirements, including burn-in sockets, test sockets, ATE consumables and thermal management solutions. Antares is headquartered in Vancouver, Wash. and has design, development and manufacturing locations in Suzhou, China; Yokohama, Japan; Phoenix and Gilbert, Ariz.; Milpitas and Santa Clara, Calif.; and Aman, Jordan. http://www.antares-att.com/.

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