Formfactor Patent Applications

Automated Attaching And Detaching Of An Interchangeable Probe Head

Granted: November 20, 2014
Application Number: 20140340103
A probe card apparatus can comprise a tester interface to a test controller, probes for contacting terminals of electronic devices to be tested, and electrical connections there between. The probe card apparatus can comprise a primary sub-assembly, which can include the tester interface. The probe card apparatus can also comprise an interchangeable probe head, which can include the probes. The interchangeable probe head can be attached to and detached from the primary sub-assembly while…

Probe Card Assembly For Testing Electronic Devices

Granted: November 6, 2014
Application Number: 20140327461
A probe card assembly can comprise a guide plate comprising probe guides for holding probes in predetermined positions. The probe card assembly can also comprise a wiring structure attached to the guide plate so that connection tips of the probes are positioned against and attached to contacts on the wiring structure. The attachment of the guide plate to the wiring structure can allow the wiring structure to expand or contract at a greater rate than the guide plate. The probes can…

Contactor Devices With Carbon Nanotube Probes Embedded In A Flexible Film And Processes Of Making Such

Granted: May 22, 2014
Application Number: 20140139250
Electrically conductive columns of intertwined carbon nanotubes embedded in a mass of material flexible, resilient electrically insulating material can be used as electrically conductive contact probes. The columns can extend between opposing sides of the mass of material. Terminals of a wiring substrate can extend into the columns and be electrically connected to an electrical interface to a tester that controls testing of a device under test. A pair of physically interlocked structures…

Probes With Spring Mechanisms For Impeding Unwanted Movement In Guide Holes

Granted: May 1, 2014
Application Number: 20140118016
Elongated flexible probes can be disposed in holes of upper and lower guide plates of a probe card assembly. Each probe can include one or more spring mechanisms that exert normal forces against sidewalls of holes in one of the guide plates. The normal forces can result in frictional forces against the sidewalls that are substantially parallel to the sidewalls. The frictional forces can reduce or impede movement parallel to the sidewalls of the probes in the holes.


Granted: February 13, 2014
Application Number: 20140043054
A testing method (and the probes used) comprising providing one or more probes each comprising: a body portion which is substantially straight; an extended portion extending from the body portion and comprising at least two separate probe portions; and a tip portion at the opposite end of the extended portion; and contacting an object to be tested with the one or more probes.


Granted: February 13, 2014
Application Number: 20140044985
A method of making a probe (and the resulting probe) comprising providing a metal foil, creating a tip on an edge of the foil, and laser cutting a body of the probe from the foil with one or more tips at an end of the body.

Wiring Substrate With Filled Vias To Accommodate Custom Terminals

Granted: October 17, 2013
Application Number: 20130271175
A probe card assembly and associated processes of forming them may include a wiring substrate with a first surface and an opposite surface, an electrically conductive first via comprising electrically conductive material extending into the wiring substrate from the opposite surface and ending before reaching the first surface, and a plurality of electrically conductive second vias, and a custom electrically conductive terminal disposed on the first surface such that said custom terminal…

Probes With Programmable Motion

Granted: July 4, 2013
Application Number: 20130169301
The elongated body of an electrically conductive contact probe can be disposed in a guide hole and can include a patterned region for engaging and riding on a contact region of an inner sidewall of the guide hole as the elongated body moves in the guide hole in response to a force on a tip of the probe. As the patterned region rides the contact region, the tip moves in a lateral pattern that is a function of the surface(s) of the patterned region.

Carbon Nanotube Contact Structures For Use With Semiconductor Dies And Other Electronic Devices

Granted: June 6, 2013
Application Number: 20130140057
A method of making carbon nanotube contact structures on an electronic device includes growing a plurality of carbon nanotube columns on a mandrel. Electrically-conductive adhesive is applied to ends of the columns distal from the mandrel, and the columns are transferred to the electronic device. An electrically-conductive material is deposited onto some or all of the columns. The mandrel can be reused to grow a second plurality of carbon nanotube columns.

Hybrid Electrical Contactor

Granted: May 30, 2013
Application Number: 20130135001
An electrical connection between an electrically conductive probe on one device and a compliant pad on another device can be formed by piercing the compliant pad with the probe. The probe can contact multiple electrically conductive elements inside the pad and thereby electrically connect to the pad at multiple locations inside the pad.


Granted: April 25, 2013
Application Number: 20130103338
An improved method and apparatus for automatically aligning probe pins to the test or bond pads of semiconductor devices under changing conditions. In at least one embodiment, a dynamic model is used to predict an impact of changing conditions to wafer probing process. This reduces the need for frequent measurements and calibrations during probing and testing, thereby increasing the number of dice that can be probed and tested in a given period of time and increasing the accuracy of…


Granted: April 18, 2013
Application Number: 20130093450
Improved probing of closely spaced contact pads is provided by an array of vertical probes having all of the probe tips aligned along a single contact line, while the probe bases are arranged in an array having two or more rows parallel to the contact line. With this arrangement of probes, the probe base thickness can be made greater than the contact pad spacing along the contact line, thereby advantageously increasing the lateral stiffness of the probes. The probe tip thickness is less…

Method And Apparatus For Designing A Custom Test System

Granted: April 18, 2013
Application Number: 20130096866
Methods, apparatus, and computer readable media for designing a custom test system are described. Examples of the invention can relate to a method of generating test system software for a semiconductor test system. In some examples, a method can include obtaining a configuration of the semiconductor test system, the configuration including a description of a device under test (DUT) and a description of test hardware; and generating an application programming interface (API) specific to…

Probe With Cantilevered Beam Having Solid And Hollow Sections

Granted: April 4, 2013
Application Number: 20130082729
An electrically conductive probe can comprise a post to which a beam structure is attached. The beam structure can comprise a cantilevered portion that extends away from the post to a free end to which a contact structure can be attached. The cantilevered portion of the beam can include both a solid section and a hollow section. Multiple such probes can be used in a test contactor to make electrical connections with an electronic device such as a semiconductor die or dies to be tested.

Non-Linear Vertical Leaf Spring

Granted: September 27, 2012
Application Number: 20120242363
An electrically conductive contact element can include a first base and a second base with elongate, spaced apart leaves between the bases. A first end of each leaf can be coupled to the first base and an opposite second end of the leaf can be coupled to the second base. A body of the leaf between the first end and the second end can be sufficiently elongate to respond to a force through said contact element substantially parallel with the first axis and the second axis by first…


Granted: September 20, 2012
Application Number: 20120239339
A probe card assembly can include a wireless link to an external verifier (e.g., debugger). The wireless link can interface to a boundary scan interface of a controller on the probe card assembly. The wireless link can allow for verification of the probe card assembly while it is installed within a prober.


Granted: April 12, 2012
Application Number: 20120086004
Contacts of an electrical device can be made of carbon nanotube columns. Contact tips can be disposed at ends of the columns. The contact tips can be made of an electrically conductive paste applied to the ends of the columns and cured (e.g., hardened). The paste can be applied, cured, and/or otherwise treated to make the contact tips in desired shapes. The carbon nanotube columns can be encapsulated in an elastic material that can impart the dominant mechanical characteristics, such as…


Granted: January 12, 2012
Application Number: 20120007626
Techniques for testing an electronic device with through-device vias can include using a probe card assembly with probes for contacting connection structures of the electronic device including ends of through-device vias of the electronic device. A pair of the probes can be electrically connected in the probe card assembly and can thus contact and form a direct return loop from one through-device via to another through-device via of a pair of the through-device vias with which the pair…


Granted: November 3, 2011
Application Number: 20110267085
Methods and apparatus for testing devices using serially controlled intelligent switches have been described. In some embodiments, a probe card assembly can be provided that includes a plurality of integrated circuits (ICs) serially coupled to form a chain, the chain coupled to at least one serial control line, the plurality of ICs including switches coupled to test probes, each of the switches being programmable responsive to a control signal on the at least one serial control line.


Granted: July 14, 2011
Application Number: 20110171838
A method of fabricating a large area, multi-element contactor. A segmented contactor is provided for testing semiconductor devices on a wafer that comprises a plurality of contactor units mounted to a substrate. The contactor units are formed, tested, and assembled to a backing substrate. The contactor units may include leads extending laterally for connection to an external instrument such as a burn-in board. The contactor units include conductive areas such as pads that are placed into…