FREMONT, Calif. -- Aehr Test Systems here today announced plans to develop wafer-level burn-in and test systems for production of known good die under a $6.5 million agreement with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa).
The company said the development project will address the need for cost-effective methods of burning in and testing unpackaged chips that can be classified as "known good die," or KGD. Darpa's funding in the project will help cover part of the costs for developing new technologies used in wafer-level burn-in/test systems, said Aehr officials.
One of the big challenges in wafer-level burn-in and test systems is development of reliable contact pads for testing tens of thousands of I/O on chips across an entire wafer, said Don Richmond, manager for the wafer-level burn-in and test program. He said initial development efforts have already resulted in several patent applications.
Aehr has partnered with San Jose-based Electroglas Inc. to develop a full-wafer alignment system and NHK Spring Co. Ltd. of Tokyo to create full-wafer contactors. "Our strategy is to provide a complete solution for IC manufacturers who want to implement wafer-level burn-in and test in their production lines," said Carl Buck, vice president of marketing at Aehr.
Company chairman and CEO Rhea Posedel said Aehr now aims to introduce commercial wafer-level burn-in and test systems, with beta site units being shipped in the second half of 2001.
Separately today, Aehr reported net sales increased 43% to $9.0 million in the company's second fiscal quarter, ended Nov. 30, compared to $6.3 million in the period a year ago. The supplier of burn-in and testing equipment posted a net income of $298,000, or $0.04 per share, compared to a net loss of $736,000, or $0.11 per share, in the 1999 period.