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15 June 2009


Cascade claims first complete probing solution for high-volume 60-80GHz RFIC manufacturing

On ‘Agilent Avenue’ of the exhibition at last week’s IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium (IMS 2009) in Boston (8-10 June), Cascade Microtech Inc of Beaverton, OR, USA launched two products that aim to streamline engineering and production testing of high-bandwidth, short-range RFIC devices for WirelessHD, automotive radar, and other 60GHz wireless applications.

According to ABI Research, 1 million wireless high-definition TVs will be installed worldwide by 2012, with double-digit growth rates. In addition, market research firm Strategy Analytics reports that over 2.3 million cars will be equipped with collision avoidance radar systems by 2011, requiring over 30 million radar sensors.

“Automotive radar and wireless multimedia applications will continue over the next two years to move from their embryonic stage into higher-volume growth applications,” says CEO Geoff Wild. “Cascade Microtech is unique in that it has a 25-year history of helping customers to precisely characterize and validate device functionality at both engineering and production test,” he claims. “In order to achieve widespread deployment of CMOS-based mmW RFICs in consumer applications at 80GHz and beyond, it requires a knowledgeable leader in very high-frequency high-volume probing,” he adds.

“End-to-end solutions that speed the design and testing of WirelessHD devices are a direct result of ongoing collaborations between Agilent and Cascade Microtech,” says Gregg Peters, VP & general manager of Agilent Technologies' Components Test Division. “Agilent recognizes Cascade Microtech as a key global channel partner.”

Using a combination of Cascade Microtech's proprietary thin-film technology and coaxial probe technology from its Infinity Probe architecture, the 110GHz Unity-MW millimeter-wave RFIC engineering probe enables cost-effective precision characterization and testing of these multiple-port emerging technologies, says the firm. Using the same membrane technology, the Pyramid-MW 81GHz production probe card provides a robust production solution for shipping at-speed known-good-die (KGD) in high volume.

With 25 contacts per quadrant, the multi-contact Unity-MW probe enables the connection of up to four 110GHz RF signals per quadrant for comprehensive and consistent testing of phased arrays. Using the production-proven Pyramid Probe photo-lithographically defined tip technology, Pyramid-MW is claimed to be the industry's only dedicated 81GHz probe card delivering repeatable, reliable measurements that ensure high-yield KGD can be shipped. Both the Unity-MW and the Pyramid-MW help to lower the cost of test with their robust, low-maintenance and documented probe tip cleaning regimes, the firm says.

With Cascade Microtech’s unique web-based Unity-MW design capture tool and streamlined manufacturing process, users can submit required configurations for delivery in one week, starting 1 September. To ensure faster time-to-market, Unity-MW probes and Pyramid-MW probe cards are designed from a common database ensuring an efficient transition from engineering lab to volume production. For customers purchasing the Unity-MW, the non-recurring engineering (NRE) charges for developing a Pyramid-MW will be waived on the first Pyramid-MW order.

See related items:

'Radar on Chip for Cars’ project formed by German car makers and suppliers

Infineon SiGe IC used in Bosch automotive radar system

Silicon to displace GaAs in automotive radar from 2013

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