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High Frequency Probe Tip

Mon, 10/22/2001 - 4:34am
Karl Suss, in cooperation with HF specialist Rosenberger, has developed a new high frequency (HF) probe tip for on-wafer probing. Called the |Z| Probe1 its tip enables extremely precise and safe contact with a planar-planar transition. This technology offers the first solution that eliminates the measurement interference that affects the results of probing with other techniques. Additionally, this new capability expands Suss' presence in the rapidly growing wireless communications markets.

The planar-planar transition technology of the |Z| Probe is unique, as all other probes on the market make the transition from coax to planar at the tip, which results in measurement interference that needs to be calibrated out of the result. The patented design of the |Z| Probe makes the transition from coax to planar within the probe body and completely isolates it with air to insure minimal insertion loss.

The devices tested by the probe are used in the information technology, telecommunications and automotive industries in antennas, receivers and transmitters and sensors. The robust design of the |Z| Probe makes it ideal for this type of probing. The tip probes devices such as transistors, diodes, filters, amplifiers, active and passive circuits, mm-waves and high clock rate data circuits.

The probe tips enable such accuracy because they are manufactured with a newly developed micromachining technology. This ensures that the independent parallel planar contact springs are manufactured with submicron accuracy, so the impedance can be controlled very precisely. Other tip designs are very fragile to handle and need a significant overtravel to contact the device under test (DUT), which increases the risk of costly breakage.

In the |Z| Probe, the springs move independently of one another along the wafer ensuring perfect contact and requiring less overtravel. This unique feature as well as the overall design of the probe results in a much longer working life and far simpler handling for the user. In testing, the tips showed nearly no wear after over one million touchdowns.

A further benefit is that unlike alternative HF probes, air builds the dielectric between the contact springs and the rest of the |Z| Probe, which allows the probe to transfer higher power with high linearity over a broader temperature range. This also significantly improves heat dissipation at high loads. Finally, the universal design of the |Z| Probe means that it not only fits on all Suss HF Probe Stations and positioners, it also can be used in conjunction with those from any other vendor.

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