NIWeek 2019: 5G mmWave wafer test probe solution demoed

21st May 2019
Posted By : Mick Elliott

A 5G mmWave wafer probe test solution developed by NI in collaboration with Tokyo Electron (TEL), FormFactor and Reid-Ashman has been demonstrated at NIWeek 2019 in Austin. Addressing the technical challenges associated with 5G mmWave wafer probe test, the solution can help semiconductor manufacturers reduce their risk, cost and time to market for 5G mmWave ICs.

New mmWave frequencies are challenging the signal integrity of conventional probe techniques, which consist of a probe interface board (PIB), probe tower and probe card.

NI, TEL, FormFactor and Reid-Ashman collaborated to demonstrate a direct dock probe solution that simplifies the signal path, provides the necessary signal integrity for mmWave applications and supports both top and bottom load probe applications.  A key element of the solution is the NI Semiconductor Test System (STS), and NI recently demonstrated a multisite mmWave test solution for 5G power amplifiers, beamformers and transceivers.

A key benefit of the solution is the modularity that allows reuse of software and baseband/IF instrumentation with modular mmWave radio heads to address current and future mmWave frequency bands of interest. 

The solution features

  • NI STS for 5G mmWave test with direct dock probe support
  • TEL Precio XL automatic wafer prober optimised for parallel die test with highly accurate x-, y-, and z-axis control for reliable contact sensitivity
  • A FormFactor Pyramid-MW probe card for superior RF signal integrity and long contactor life in production test environments
  • Reid-Ashman OM1700 universal manipulator with motorised motion for efficient, repeatable and product-safe docking

“We believe that our early collaboration with leading wireless chipmakers, test cell integration partners, OSATs and the 5G research community has positioned us to be the lowest risk option for mmWave 5G production test,” said Dr. Kevin Ilcisin, vice president of Corporate Strategy at NI. “This is the latest example of NI’s commitment to prioritizing investments to maximise the value we deliver to our customers as they race to address critical industry challenges.”


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