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Browse Prior Art Database

Contactless Electrical Connections to Circuits

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000044591D
Original Publication Date: 1984-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-06
Document File: 1 page(s) / 12K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Cuomo, JJ: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

A method is described herein which allows electrical measurements of sensitive circuits without contact. The testing of microscopic electronic circuits, present on current generation chips, is usually a complicated process. It is generally not feasible to contact the circuit elements directly with probes because of the possibility of introducing impurities, physical damage to the circuit, and simply due to the extremely minute size of the circuit components. Thus, to test a circuit element, the entire package must be completed and electrical leads or wires attached. This process often takes several days to months, and any feedback to a particular manufacturing stage is lost. In this way, entire batches of devices can be lost - not at an early stage in manufacture, but only after the entire process is completed.

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Contactless Electrical Connections to Circuits

A method is described herein which allows electrical measurements of sensitive circuits without contact. The testing of microscopic electronic circuits, present on current generation chips, is usually a complicated process. It is generally not feasible to contact the circuit elements directly with probes because of the possibility of introducing impurities, physical damage to the circuit, and simply due to the extremely minute size of the circuit components. Thus, to test a circuit element, the entire package must be completed and electrical leads or wires attached. This process often takes several days to months, and any feedback to a particular manufacturing stage is lost. In this way, entire batches of devices can be lost - not at an early stage in manufacture, but only after the entire process is completed. Small area arrays of carbon whiskers on probe surfaces could be used as a "contactless" electrical connection to small circuit components. This feature is due to the very high electric field that could be induced between the whisker tip and a sample to be tested if the tip-to-sample distance was made quite small. A tunneling current could then be established between the probe and the sample (circuit component) without physically touching the probe to the sample. This electric field, however, might still be too high for some sensitive circuit components. An alternative mode would be to introduce an inert gas, such as helium, which would break down (ionize)...