Southwest Test Workshop started in 1990 as a small,
regional meeting of test professionals who gathered to discuss
general IC test topics. After three years of following that format
the organizers, recognizing a need for a meeting focused on wafer
testing, asked TTTC to approve a change of mission the rest is
history. Workshop attendance grew to 148 that year, 238 the next
year, and 288 last year.
This year, the workshop, which was held at the
Princess Resort Hotel in Mission Bay, near San Diego, California,
June 1-4, educated and entertained 400 enthusiastic participants.
In spite of its dramatic growth, SWTW still tries
to maintain its workshop identity rather than become a formal
symposium or conference. For example, the organizers believe
that half the value of a technical meeting is in the informal
interactions, so they devote a sizable portion of the workshop
to long breaks and numerous social activities, such as a Mexican
Fiesta, a Hawaiian Luau and three hosted cocktail receptions.
Also, recognizing that unrehearsed panel discussions often reveal
issues that would be too politically incorrect to present in
a formal setting, SWTW '97 had four panel or open discussion
sessions, all actively involving the audience. The initial Sunday
evening panel discussion was video-taped. The tape was distributed
to all attendees at the conclusion of the workshop.
SWTW's regular technical program began on Monday
morning with a session on RF probing. One presentation concerned
probe activities as evaluated by an ATE vendor. A mini-tutorial
described the relationship between RF terminology and the high-frequency
testing vernacular. After the morning break, the session dealt
with the automatic probe-mark inspection features now included
by the three major prober manufactures. Each manufacturer described
their APM features and performance parameters, and then, to keep
them honest, members of the audience shared their actual experiences
in an open discussion.
Monday afternoon featured a variety of elective
group activities designed to encourage informal discussions.
The hotel's 18-hole miniature golf course entertained "golfers"
in a putters-provided, shotgun-start tournament. Other attendees
took a 2-hour San Diego sightseeing-trolley tour that included
Old Town, downtown and other city sites, the wharf area, Coronado
Island and Balboa Park. Another group took a San Diego Harbor
Cruise and toured one of the largest recreational harbors on
the West Coast, plus the fishing fleet, North Island Naval Air
Station, and the US Navy fleet in dry dock. On Monday evening,
all attendees enjoyed a Hawaiian Luau buffet dinner around the
The first session Tuesday morning discussed the
issues of docking a many-hundred-pound test head with an even
heavier prober, while requiring accuracies of a fraction-of-a-
mil and gram. The first presentation covered the problem of conventional
and newly developed interface solutions. The next two presentations
provided detailed models and error-budget analysis as they relate
to the interface itself and probe-card requirements. After the
morning break, there were four presentations on high-temperature
probing. These included an overview of some Sematech activities,
a new matched-expansion probe card, an analytical model for probe-card
performance at elevated temperature, and measured thermal-probe
Multi-die probing was the topic of the first session
after lunch. Advances in cantilevered probe cards and newer probe
technologies have found increasing applications in multiple die
testing, so three microelectronic manufacturers presented their
experiences with different probe technologies. Then, for the
first time, the SWTW had two parallel breakout sessions in the
afternoon. Each session had a panel which began the discussion
and then the attendees, who had been enticed with cookies and
soft drinks, were encouraged to share their views. The topics
were probe operations and new probe technologies.
Tuesday evening, attendees enjoyed a formal dinner
banquet which included awards and an after dinner speaker. Our
after dinner speaker discussed the issues and potential solutions
for a completely automated, lights-out, probe test operation.
Then awards were given for the best presentation, best data,
lowest miniature-golf score, worst sunburn, and the infamous
SWTW award for the poorest-disguised sales pitch.
Wednesday morning featured a general session entitled
Probe Potpourri. Three presentations covered: probe-needle materials;
the roadmap to 50-micron probe pitch; and advanced technology
in cantilever needle-probe cards. After the morning break, there
were three excellent presentations on new probe-card technologies.
The workshop adjourned Wednesday at noon.
Southwest Test Workshop 1998 is scheduled to begin
with a tutorial Sunday afternoon, May 30,1998. Please contact
the TTTC Office, EdDor@aol.com, if you would like to be on the
mailing list for SWTW.