PARIS Probe card manufacturer Mesatronic SA is ramping up production of die-on-die (DOD) membrane probes for IC testing, in its 100 class clean room near Grenoble, France. The company is also planning to open an office in China in 2007, according to André Belmont, CEO of Mesatronic (Voiron, France).
The DOD probe technology is experiencing considerable growth and is expected to generate about 10 percent of the company's revenue in 2007. Aimed at new applications with smaller test pads and finer pitches, such as wireless and smartcard devices, DOD membrane technology is also suitable for high-performance wafer testing, the company asserts.
Keithley Instruments, a parametric test equipment manufacturer, recently entered a partnership with Mesatronic to develop DOD-based probe cards allowing for extraction of RF and low level DC parameters on the same probes.
"Being able to perform RF and DC testing with the same probe card will dramatically improve wafer test throughput," said Belmont. "Keithley is bringing its expertise in femto-amp DC signal measurement and Mesatronic is offering its DOD technology, which has been qualified at frequencies up to 8 GHz and more."
With DOD technology, vertical probe cards are built using a semiconductor process creating probe needles by electrochemical growth on a flexible substrate or membrane that also features interconnection tracks. The needles on the flexible substrate match special test structures when the probe card is positioned above them. The semiconductor process enables the needle's shape and diameter to be controlled, allowing them to work with the 30-micron pads, towards which the industry is migrating. Conventional probe technology is currently restricted to pad sizes larger than 50-micron.
Founded in 1994, Mesatronic manufactures probe cards and interfaces for parametric testers, functional testers and burn-in test. The company expects $9 million of revenue in 2006 and has 60 employees, of which 20 are U.S. based. An office will open in China next year, with about 10 employees dedicated to sales and technical support.