SOURCE: FormFactor

December 01, 2009 16:05 ET

FormFactor Introduces Next-Generation 300-mm Full-Wafer Test Solution for DRAM

SmartMatrix™100 Probe Solution Lowers Test Cost per Die for Leading-Edge Mobile and Commodity DRAM Test Applications and Extends the Life of the Tester Cell

LIVERMORE, CA--(Marketwire - December 1, 2009) - FormFactor, Inc. (NASDAQ: FORM) today introduced its next generation 300-mm full-wafer-contact probe card for DRAM devices -- the SmartMatrix™ 100 probe solution. Incorporating a new, proprietary probe card architecture that leverages FormFactor's MicroSpring® MEMS contact technology, the SmartMatrix 100 was specifically designed to support DRAM manufacturers' fast design ramps, advanced product roadmaps and stringent cost-of-test requirements. Designed for testing 5Xnm-node and below DDR2 and DDR3 mobile and commodity DRAM devices, SmartMatrix 100 probe cards offer enhanced probing performance that enables DRAM manufacturers to extend the life of their existing test equipment and avoid the need for additional capital spending within their test cells.

"As memory product lifecycles accelerate, DRAM manufacturers face shrinking windows of opportunity to ramp up to profitability on their new designs and are requiring key suppliers to provide unprecedented operational responsiveness and flexibility to support test operations," stated Stefan Zschiegner, senior vice president of FormFactor's DRAM product business. "Our new SmartMatrix 100 solution delivers out-of-the box probe performance that offers both technological and operational enhancements to enable DRAM manufacturers to stay on their test roadmaps and lower their cost of test."

New Architecture Improves Manufacturing and Operational Efficiency

Like FormFactor's recently introduced TouchMatrix™ probe card for advanced NAND Flash testing, the new SmartMatrix 100 probe card features an innovative architecture that significantly improves manufacturing efficiency and reduces probe card delivery lead time. These capabilities are particularly important for DRAM manufacturers, who face rapid fab cycle times as well as steep and dynamic ramp plans. SmartMatrix 100 probe cards can also be easily disassembled for repair and reassembled for faster turnaround time with minimal adjustment.

SmartMatrix 100 probe cards are also designed for improved thermal performance, which allow the cards to quickly reach test temperatures. This improved thermal performance enables dual-temperature operation and ensures thermal stability during wafer and lot changes, making the new platform extremely robust in demanding performance environments. With this capability, the new probe card offers scrub consistency even on smaller pads and pad pitches, and can compensate for a lack of prober- or test-head stability, for increased probing uptime. The new design virtually eliminates thermal bow effects of traditional full-wafer-contact probe cards -- providing improved contact precision and more consistent scrub marks across the full temperature range. FormFactor's RapidSoak™ technology is also available as an option, which enables SmartMatrix 100 probe cards to further reduce soak time.

Scalable MEMS Probes Optimize Yield and Support Future Test Roadmaps

Leveraging FormFactor's MicroSpring MEMS contacts, SmartMatrix 100 probe cards offer superior scrub performance with proven x/y contact reproducibility and long life. The MicroSpring technology also provides superior power delivery, low noise, and stable contact resistance, which ensures accurate test yields. The SmartMatrix probe cards have a MicroSpring roadmap to enable pad pitches as small as 50 microns and pad sizes as small as 40x50 microns -- supporting DRAM manufacturers' migration to 5X-nm and 4X-nm design rules.

Proprietary Advanced TRE™ Technology Increases Test Parallelism

SmartMatrix 100 is also compatible with FormFactor's advanced TRE™ technology, which enables more efficient use of tester channels on test equipment to increase the total number of devices that can be tested simultaneously by a factor of four or higher. This TRE technology currently allows the testing of as many as 512 devices on each touchdown. Using the SmartMatrix probe card, DRAM manufacturers and test service providers can significantly increase test cell throughput on new test equipment, extend the life of their existing test equipment, and reduce their overall cost of test.

FormFactor's SmartMatrix 100 probe cards are now in qualification testing and are available for shipping.

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements in this press release that are not strictly historical in nature are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including statements regarding our products and solutions, demand for our products and future growth. These forward-looking statements are based on current information and expectations that are inherently subject to change and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual events or results might differ materially from those in any forward-looking statement due to various factors, including, but not limited to: the Company's ability to support DRAM manufacturers' fast design ramps, advanced product roadmaps and stringent cost-of-test requirements; the Company's ability to manufacture and sell SmartMatrix probe cards that deliver enhanced probing performance to enable DRAM manufacturers to extend the life of their existing test equipment and avoid the need for additional capital spending within their test cells, that can significantly increase test cell throughput, and that provide improved thermal performance to enable dual-temperature operation and ensure thermal stability during wafer and lot changes; the Company's ability to scale the SmartMatrix probe card to offer scrub consistency even on smaller pads and pad pitches to support DRAM manufacturers' test roadmaps and migration to 5X-nm and 4X-nm design rules; the capability of the SmartMatrix probe card to compensate for a lack of prober- or test-head stability and to virtually eliminate thermal bow effects. Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those in any forward-looking statement is contained in the company's Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 27, 2008 and Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended September 26, 2009 as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), and subsequent SEC filings. Copies of the company's SEC filings are available at http://investors.formfactor.com/edgar.cfm. The company assumes no obligation to update the information in this press release, to revise any forward-looking statements or to update the reasons actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in forward-looking statements.

About FormFactor

Founded in 1993, FormFactor, Inc. (NASDAQ: FORM) is the leader in advanced wafer probe cards, which are used by semiconductor manufacturers to electrically test ICs. The company's wafer sort, burn-in and device performance testing products move IC testing upstream from post-packaging to the wafer level, enabling semiconductor manufacturers to lower their overall production costs, improve yields, and bring next-generation devices to market. FormFactor is headquartered in Livermore, California with operations in Europe, Asia and North America. For more information, visit the company's web site at www.formfactor.com.

FormFactor, SmartMatrix, MicroSpring, RapidSoak and TRE are trademarks or registered trademarks of FormFactor, Inc.

Contact Information

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