SOURCE: MicroProbe


July 12, 2011 08:00 ET

MicroProbe Surpasses 1000 Unit Shipment Milestone for Copper Pillar Probing

Vx and Mx Vertical MEMS Probe Technology Enabling Multiple Advanced Packaging Applications

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - Jul 12, 2011) - Today at SEMICON West in San Francisco, MicroProbe announced that more than 1000 Vx and Mx vertical MEMS probe cards are now deployed worldwide in copper pillar applications. Once restricted to use in high-end logic devices, the copper pillar bump process is now seeing rapid adoption by manufacturers of mobile System-on-Chip [SoC] devices for its proven cost, reliability, and performance advantages. As the world's number one supplier* of advanced non-memory probe cards, MicroProbe continues to enable adoption of advanced packaging technologies, such as copper pillars, with its vertical MEMS probe card platforms.

Copper pillars function as an interconnect structure that helps reduce packaging costs while also 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 150um-pitch regime of solder-ball process technology to well below 90um.

MicroProbe's vertical MEMS probe cards address these unique technical challenges while also decreasing the overall cost of test. Built on a scalable common platform with application-specific probe designs, the company's products provide users with unmatched flexibility to choose the optimal configuration for probing over under-bump-metallization (UBM), directly on copper pillars, and on solder-capped pillars. This combination of performance, extendibility and flexibility also makes the products ideal for other emerging advanced packaging applications like embedded Wafer-Level Packaging [eWLP] and Through-Silicon Vias [TSVs].

Unique to the MicroProbe products are the following key features and advantages:

  • Throughput: Multi-DUT (Devices under Test) to lower the cost of test;
  • Performance: Ultra-stable contact resistance to optimize test yields in copper applications;
  • Extendibility: Flip-chip pitch scalable to sub-50um in full-array configurations;
  • Flexibility: Application-specific probe designs, highly customizable for specific requirements of various pre-bump 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."

At SEMICON West, Dr. Slessor will participate in the following two events:

Test in Transition: Emerging Test Solutions and Technologies: Wednesday, July 13 at 3:00 p.m. at Moscone Center, North Two TechXPOT. Slessor's topic is "Key Parameters in Wafer Test Probes' Current-Carrying Capability."

ATEVision Program 2011: Thursday, July 14 at 4:30 p.m. at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis Hotel. Slessor will join representatives from the semiconductor manufacturing value chain for a panel discussion on the challenges associated with TSV testing, along with proposed solutions.

*The Probe Card Market 2010 - Survey Results and Forecast Update, VLSI Research Inc, May 2011
**Advanced Packaging: 2010 Total Flip-chip Market Value, Yole Développement, April 2011

About MicroProbe
MicroProbe is the world's number one provider of advanced non-memory 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. For more information about MicroProbe, please visit the company website at

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