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BREAKTHROUGH IC MEMBRANE TEST PROBE LAUNCHED BY PACKARD-HUGHES INTERCONNECT

 IRVINE, Calif., June 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Packard-Hughes Interconnect said its new IC Membrane Test Probe for at-speed testing of ICs at the wafer level has achieved breakthroughs in terms of performance and price over competing wafer probing technologies during recent beta testing at leading semiconductor manufacturers.
 During the comprehensive tests, the new Packard-Hughes IC Membrane Test Probe achieved more than 350,000 touchdowns in at-speed testing for silicon ICs. Pad pitches down to 4 mils were accommodated as were clock rates up to 2 GHz. The new Test Probes also provided controlled impedance paths from the probe card interface to the die surface with line-to-line isolation better than 30 dB, allowing for increased test measurement accuracy and significant improvement in known good-die yields. Yet the cost of the new Packard-Hughes Probe was roughly equivalent to the needle probe cards it was designed to replace.
 According to John Carney, vice president for sales and marketing at Packard-Hughes, "Our new IC Membrane Test Probes provide all the advantages that have been touted for membrane probe technology over the past several years and more, while eliminating the cost penalty that has been associated with other Membrane probe products. For example, a Packard-Hughes Membrane Test Probe for an advanced 32-bit microprocessor with more than 120 pins costs less than $3,000. This is about the same price as needle probe cards of the same complexity, but less than one- fourth the price of other membrane probe products on the market.
 "Our price advantage over other membrane probes accrues from the way we create the raised features on the membrane that actually contact the IC die surface," Carney noted. "We employ our new proprietary Gold Dot(TM) contact shaping process to actually form the contacts in the size, shape and material compatible with the devices to be tested. We can, for example, create an array of sharply pointed contacts to provide the oxide breaking force needed to penetrate a particularly tough or thick passivation layer, or an array of rounded or flat features that minimize pad damage."
 The Packard-Hughes IC Membrane Test Probe is actually comprised of two component parts: a universal rigid probe ring that conforms to the specific tester in use, and a flexible membrane customized for the target IC. The two parts are mated together by a Gold Dot interconnect built into the membrane at its outer edge. Any membrane can be changed within the probe card at the tester in less than 10 minutes, vs. the hours generally required to change and align a needle probe card.
 "This ease and speed of interchanging the membrane portion of our Test Probe significantly reduces the exorbitant costs and time associated with changing, tweaking and maintaining needle probe cards," Carney said.
 "The patented Probe construction also uses a flexible elastomer backing to make the membrane self-planarizing," he continued. "This eliminates many of the problems associated with intermittent contact and varying contact resistance between the membrane and the IC surface that are often experienced when using other manufacturers' membrane probes."
 The Packard-Hughes IC Membrane Test Probe is available immediately. Universal probe rings are available for a number of commercially popular IC testers. Membranes customized for specific pad layouts and other test requirements take eight weeks for delivery of first units; subsequent membrane reorders are filled in four weeks or less. Probes based on Packard-Hughes Gold Dot technology are also available for testing LCDs, MCMs and TAB assemblies.
 Packard-Hughes Interconnect, formerly known as Hughes Interconnect Systems, is a subsidiary of General Motors. Headquartered in Irvine, with manufacturing facilities in Alabama, Arizona and Mexico, the company combines the advanced interconnect technologies of Hughes Aircraft with the high-volume manufacturing expertise of Packard Electric. Packard-Hughes Interconnect markets its interconnect products and solutions globally through a network of sales representatives and distributors. For more information on capabilities, products and marketing programs, contact Packard-Hughes Interconnect, at 17150 Von Karman Ave., Irvine, CA 92714, or at 800-821-2998.
 -0- 6/28/93
 /EDITOR'S NOTE: Black-and-white prints and color transparencies of the IC Membrane Test Probe are available upon request./
 /CONTACT: John Dillon or Marie Domingo of Speer, Young & Hollander, 213-487-2363, for Packard-Hughes Interconnect/


CO: Packard-Hughes Interconnect ST: California IN: CPR SU: PDT

JL-MF -- LA010 -- 6227 06/28/93 12:07 EDT
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Date:Jun 28, 1993
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