Ultra-fine test wires with sextuple conductivity

With an up to six times higher conductivity and a by 50% reduced diameter, the new test wires from Heraeus accelerate quality control in the semiconductor industry. They can even be used when standard wires have long reached their limits.


Kontrolle der Position des Ziehsteins: Sie ist entscheidend für die Geradheit des Prüfdrahts. © Heraeus


Manufacturers of test cards for the semiconductor and electronics industries utilise the ultra-fine wire to produce needles for testing wafers. They have to adapt their test cards to meet the challenges of increasing miniaturisation. Key features of a good wire for quality tests are the electrical conductivity, hardness and a thin geometry. In terms of conductivity, the new wires outperform the alloys available on the market: It is over 30% IACS (International Annealed Copper Standard), while conventional wires have 5% to 14% IACS. The wires from Heraeus Precious Metals are both elastic and mechanically strong, even at high temperatures. They can therefore be used over many stress cycles. According to requirements, the manufacturer uses different precious metals such as palladium, platinum or rhodium to produce straight wires on spools or as wire sections.

Quality control is at the heart of semiconductor production. A wafer contains hundreds of chips, each of which must be 100% tested for functionality. Due to the advancing miniaturization of the transistors of a chip and thus the increasing number of transistors per chip, continuously thinner test needles in a small space are necessary: currently up to 30,000 on the size of a stamp. The new Heraeus wires are about a quarter as thick as a human hair with a diameter of less than 20µm and up to 50% finer than standard wires.

“The test wires give our customers completely new possibilities for quality assurance in microprocessor manufacturing,” says André Christl, President of Heraeus Precious Metals. “New chip technologies in mobile communications – such as 5G now – are creating a growing demand among manufacturers of smartphones and tablets for more powerful, ever-smaller chips.” Heraeus wanted to participate in this business potential with their customers in Asia, the United States, and Europe, Mr. Christl says. Manufacturing products for the semiconductor and telecommunications industries requires not only the right hardware, but also precision, material and process know-how, and above all experience. Heraeus has been a pioneer in the manufacture of ultra-fine wire for over 50 years. It is used in airbags. Electrical sliding contacts are also part of the product portfolio. The company has been producing high-purity quartz glass for optical fibres for the semiconductor and telecommunications industries for decades.

Heraeus will be presenting its new test wires at the “Semiconductor Wafer Test Workshop” (SWTW) in San Diego/USA from June 2 to 5, 2019.

Heraeus Holding GmbH

 Heraeus Strasse 12-14

 63450 Hanau/Germany

 Tel.: +49 6181 35-0



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