Case Studies

Probe tip shaping

Precision MicroFab specializes in shaping vertical test probes, generally used for running electrical tests on integrated circuits.

On this project, the probe tip had to scrub an oxide layer off the test area to minimize the electrical contact resistance (Cres). The probes were between 65 and 85 μm thick, but needed to be tapered down to consistent 6 μm truncated pyramids with a tolerance of +/- 2 μm.

In order to make these inconsistent and variably shaped probes consistent in size, this project was implemented with a high degree of automation, machine vision metrology, and customized fixturing. The top image is a three dimensional graph showing probe tip thicknesses across 9000 probes prior to shaping, and the bottom two images show the finished probes under the scanning electronic microscope.

This video shows the probe tip shaping process in action:

If you’d like more information on this project or if you’re interested in a similar service, please contact us.

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Up close

We used machine vision to map out the tip variation of an entire tray of probe tips, prior to shaping.
These probes needed to be tapered down to a 6 μm truncated pyramid.
Probe tip as seen under the scanning electron microscope (SEM)