A probe card is used as inspection equipment for the front-end LSI production process to check the efficiency of silicon wafers. It effectively checks which chip on the wafer is manufactured perfectly and which is not good for devices. It is made up of a round printed circuit board with precisely connected probe connectors or probe pins.
The probe card purpose is to provide electrical connections to the chip to check their working ability. Every LSI chip is electronically tested by making concurrent contact with several probing pin tips positioned on the printed circuit boards of a probe card. The probe card plays a bridge between chip testers and semiconductor chips.
They identify short circuits, and open electronic circuits, and measure electrical current and higher frequency ranges. A probe card is divided into three major types: vertical type, needle type, and MEMS. Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) technology represents the most advanced form of probe card used for testing semiconductor wafers.
How does Probe Card work?
Typically, a probe card is put inside an automated wafer probe, which adjusts the orientation of the semiconductor wafer to be examined to ensure accurate interaction between the wafer and probe card of the testing machine. After loading the wafer and the probe card, the lens of the camera inside the testing prober will visually find many tips upon that probe card as well as several markings or plates on the semiconductor, and based on this data, and it will connect the PCB probe card contact to pads of semiconductor on the device under test.
Vertical Type Probe Card
This probe card is easier to maintain. This probe card has fixed perpendicular probes attached to PCB. It can measure multiple chips due to its unique probe.
Needle Type Probe Card
This probe card has a needle made up of tungsten, and these needs are directly attached to PCB. Its testing probes can be positioned at narrower pitches, allowing it to accommodate Al pads.
Micro Electro-Mechanical System Probe Card
This probe card is the advanced version and is used to test logical devices for microprocessors flip chips.
Type of ATE probe PCB
ATE probe PCB is used to test highly advanced electronic devices’ semiconductor chips. It is a custom-made PCB probe card used to check the efficiency of devices. It can test semiconductor chips present in Microprocessors, Gate Arrays, memory cards, etc.
ATE probe PCBs are intended to shorten the amount of test time required to validate that a certain technology works or even to quickly identify flaws before the component is utilized in an end customer product. It saves production costs and determines the yield of semiconductor-based devices.
The following are the major types of ATE probe PCB used in ATE devices to check advanced electronic devices’ semiconductor chips.
Epoxy Probe card
This is a specially built probe card with a higher pin count and is used as a commercial solution for supreme probing requirements in testing semiconductor chips. Its needle is made up of Beryllium Copper, Tungsten, Palladium alloy, and Tungsten Rhenium.
This probe card is temperature resistant and works perfectly until 100-300 degree centigrade, as per the requirement. They are ideal to use in high voltage and current applications up to the limit of 10 kilovolts and 200 Amperes and above.
Blade Probe card
This is an individually built probe card to which blades are attached. One part of the blade is attached to the PCB, while the other is used to test the chip. This probe card is easier to build than an epoxy probe card and a less expensive option for in-house testing of semiconductor chips.
The blade probe card is used in applications where circuit diameters are more than a hundred microns and necessary pin counts are minimal. They can also be used in conjunction with other test equipment to evaluate chips. It is effective for testing less complex semiconductor wafers.
Specialty Probe card
This is a customized probe card with a custom pin count. They are specially designed to reduce the time consumed in testing semiconductor chips. This probe card is used in many industries, including automobiles, commercial and domestic appliances, and other electronic items.
The cost of a special probe card depends on the features that are required by the consumer. Usually, this option is costly due to customized requirements, but in the longer run, they have a long run in testing and use to detect the quality of chips as per user requirements.
Advanced Probe card Design and Manufacturing
An advanced probe card is designed and manufactured similarly to PCB as they are majorly composed of two parts: a PCB and probing pin tips. First, you will develop a circuit diagram of your probe card and develop schematics on it using reliable PCB design software. Then change that schematic into the layout with the custom option required in your PCB design of probe card layout.
You can also use a customized template in your PCB design software that can act as a foundation for your probe card, on which you can add custom options to enhance its features per your requirement further. Once the design is completed, it can be used to manufacture an advanced probe card.
A Probe card is first manufactured over a silicon-based semiconductor wafer and then relocated to the PCB substrate. Transfer technology is majorly used to manufacture a probe card where relocation is done on PCB substrate using reflow and screen printing.
Another technique used to manufacture Probe cards is known as photolithography, where etching is used to transfer silicon wafer to PCB substrate. In this method, semiconductor wafers are etched using potassium hydroxide and then transferred to the substrate. The photoresist is applied to develop a pattern, and bonding between substrate and wafer is achieved in a vacuum. Once the PCB is prepared, different types of probing tips are attached as per requirements.
However, for advanced probe card designing and manufacturing, always consider an experienced PCB manufacturer such as Hemeixin PCB. We have a decade of experience in designing and manufacturing advanced probe cards. We have fabricated them for customers all over the world. You can place your order with us to get the most reliable probe card for your chip-testing devices.
ATE Load Boards and Probe Card Solutions
Probe card plays a critical role in testing semiconductor chips at the uncut wafer level. These cards are specially designed PCB on which metal or other material contact pins are attached to supply current to the main circuit of chips needed to be tested.
Once the probe card is attached to the testing device, they supply power to the main circuit of the semiconductor chip to test its functionality. They play a vital role in checking the efficiency of the semiconductor chips in their wafer to ensure they are safe to use in advanced electronic equipment.
ATE Load Boards are specialized circuit boards used to test highly advanced semiconductor chips such as microprocessors, integrated circuit chips, electronic device chips, memory cards, etc. ATE Load Boards connect devices under test with automatic test equipment to test semiconductors in their uncut semiconductor wafer.
ATE load boards are placed in automated test equipment to check the performance of semiconductor chips. Its focus is on checking the high performance of circuit chips. ATE Load boards are frequently tailored to a single device or set of devices. As a result, full, fully prepared load boards are rarely available on the market.
The typical method for acquiring an ATE load board for an innovative device is to develop and manufacture it. Always get it manufactured by a reliable PCB manufacturer to get the best-designed load boards for your testing devices.
Semiconductor Probe Card Lead Times
A probe Card must be prepared with additional care to ensure it is reliable and repeatable. It usually takes eight weeks to three months to prepare and deliver a reliable probe card, depending on the feature and design requirement submitted by the client at the time of order placement.
There are a few factors that affect the lead times. Ensure that your order complies with them before placing an order for designing and manufacturing a semiconductor probe card, and get it on the decided lead time at the time of your order placement.
Complete details of Probe Card specifications
When you place the order, always mention the complete specification of the probe card required for your testing device. In case you design the probe card PCB by yourself, submit all required files mentioned by the manufacturer in their requirement.
When you are ordering a probe card from a manufacturer’s official website, carefully monitor the material they are using for the type of probe card required for testing your device. If they use a different material for Probe card manufacturing, research those materials, then go ahead. Otherwise, consider another manufacturer if your desired probe card material is unavailable.
Selection of Trusted PCB Manufacturer
This factor is the main factor in lead time, as capable PCB manufacturers can design and manufacture a probe card for their customers in committed lead times. Hemeixin PCB offers the designing and manufacturing of a reliable probe card in 3 to 10 weeks.
Lastly, to get your probe card on time, choose a probe card supplier who is easily available in your area so you can get your order without any additional international shipping charges and taxes.
Hemeixin PCB is the leading probe card supplier in China, and you can place your order by visiting our website to get a custom probe card to deliver to your doorsteps. We have more than 10 years of experience designing and manufacturing reliable probes and ATE probe cards for hundreds of consumers.
Hemeixin fast turn pcb provides the best and most efficient high frequency pcb manufacturing in our business. Please visit HEMEIXIN for a free discussion. They reliable service provider will be happy to help you out.