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New electrostatic dissipative plastic provides longer useful life for IC device testing fixtures

Quadrant EPP : 22 April, 2000  (New Product)
When testing integrated circuit devices, an important consideration is units (tested) per hour, UPH. Test times can be less than 500 milliseconds. Since non-metallic test heads are used to hold the IC devices, their rapid movement into and out of logic testers can create the potential for electrostatic discharge. Air flowing across the surface of a plastic product can result in the buildup of static charges.
These charges can be transferred to any ungrounded IC device the plastic contacts, and the charges can then be discharged when the product comes close to a grounded metal. To avoid ESD that can damage the IC devices during testing, manufacturers use test heads made of electrostatic dissipative plastics.

Recently, RF Micro Devices, Greensboro, NC began using a new plastic that combines ESd and high mechanical strength, to make the test heads it uses. The high mechanical strength of Semitron ESd 520 HR, from DSM Engineering Plastic Products, results in longer useful life of the test heads and, thus, greater UPH. The rapid insertion of the ESd plastic test heads holding the IC devices into test sockets wears the test heads, which after repeated test cycles affects the positioning of the IC device during testing.

Semitron ESd 520HR is the first product to reliably meet all physical performance needs for test nests, sockets and contactors, combined with ESd performance. Semitron ESd 520HR, which is available in stock shapes for machining, is both ESd (surface resistivity of 1010 to 1012 ohms/square ) and has sufficient resistance to minimize the risk of 'leakage' (cross-talk). The new ESd material has a tensile modulus of 800,000 psi and a heat deflection temperature (at 264 psi) of 520F. Also significant is the ability of Semitron ESd 520HR to retain its surface resistivity at electrical forces greater than 100 volts.

Semitron ESd 520HR has a low coefficient of thermal expansion, high compressive strength, and can be machined to very tight tolerances, all of which are important benefits for nests and sockets used in testing semiconductor devices.

Semitron ESd 520HR is the latest addition to DSM Engineering Plastic Products' unique family of plastic shapes for machining semiconductor manufacturing and testing equipment components. Other innovative materials for the semiconductor industry available from DSM Engineering Plastic Products are: Semitron ESd 225 (surface resistivity of <1010 W/sq and a heat deflection temperature of 225F), Semitron ESd 410C (surface resistivity of 102 to 106 W/sq and a heat deflection temperature of 410F), and Semitron ESd 500HR (surface resistivity of 1010 to 1012 W/sq and a continuous service temperature of 500F).

RF Micro Devices, Inc. designs, develops, manufactures and markets proprietary radio frequency integrated circuit devices for wireless communications applications such as cellular and PCS phones, cordless phones, wireless LANs, wireless local loop handsets, industrial radios, wireless security systems and remote meter readers. The Company offers a broad array of products, including amplifiers, mixers, modulators/demodulators and single-chip transmitters, receivers and transceivers, that represent a substantial majority of the RFICs required in wireless subscriber equipment.
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