FormFactor has been granted a patent for a device and method that improves navigation on structural units used for contacting semiconductor components. The device includes a holding device, imaging unit, movement device, storage unit, display unit, and computer control unit. It allows for the optical representation of electronic semiconductor components and synchronizes a live image of the component with an electronically stored graphical representation, enhancing visualization and navigation. GlobalData’s report on FormFactor gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

According to GlobalData’s company profile on FormFactor, Under-screen biometric identification was a key innovation area identified from patents. FormFactor's grant share as of September 2023 was 56%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Optical representation of electronic semiconductor components on structural units

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: FormFactor Inc

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11754511B2) describes a device for optically representing an electronic semiconductor component. The device includes a holding device with a surface to receive the semiconductor component, an imaging unit to record a live image of the component, a movement device to move the holding device and imaging unit, a storage unit to store the live image and an electronically stored graphical representation of the component, and a display unit to display the live image and graphical representation.

The device is controlled by a computer control unit that positions the component on the holding surface, provides the graphical representation, and displays the live image and graphical representation on the display unit. The computer control unit electronically synchronizes the graphical representation with the live image, creating an overlay where elements of the graphical representation superimpose the live image. This allows for precise alignment and comparison of the component and the graphical representation.

The computer control unit can also control the movement device to displace the component relative to the imaging unit while maintaining the superposition of elements. The live image may include an image of probe tips that contact the component, and the graphical representation may depict probe tips as well.

The computer control unit can receive an operator-supplemented graphical representation and supplement the electronically stored graphical representation with it. It can also control the imaging unit to record the optical image.

The device can store the overlay as an electronically stored overlay image and repeat the positioning, providing, recording, displaying, and synchronizing using the overlay image. Different regions of the component can be recorded in separate optical images.

The computer control unit can utilize the overlay to contact probe tips with the component and electronically test it. The region of the structural unit can include different parts of the component, reference points, and boundaries.

The computer control unit can also display an image or graphical representation of a probe tip, align the contact surface of the component and the probe tip using the overlay, and execute an adjusting movement until physical and electrical contact is established. After this, the unit can electrically test the component via the probe tip.

The corresponding elements of the graphical representation have shapes that correspond to the live image, and the graphical representation may include labels to identify elements of the live image.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.