Medhealth Review

Formfactor: Transforming Semiconductor Technologies through Innovative Test and Measurement Solutions

Mike D. Slessor Ph.D.

CEO, FormFactor

FormFactor’s foray into Quantum Cryogenics is evidence of their innovative thinking. The company provides quantum engineers with state-ofthe-art cryogenic test and measurement solutions. These solutions include cryostats, magnetometry systems, chip-scale and wafer-probing devices, and contract test services

Precision and dependability are critical requirements for manufacturers in the semiconductor industry. As technology becomes more sophisticated, it has become crucial to ensure that integrated circuits (ICs) are of high quality and perform efficiently. In addressing this problem, FormFactor, Inc. demonstrates its creativity and problem-solving skills. 

Leading the semiconductor industry, FormFactor, Inc. (NASDAQ: FORM) offers vital test and measurement solutions for the whole integrated circuit (IC) life cycle. Since its founding in 1993 and initial public offering in 2003, the business has continuously shown itself as a pioneer in providing innovative solutions. FormFactor, a NASDAQ-listed company with $770 million in revenue in 2021, is regarded as the leading supplier of engineering probe systems and advanced probe cards. It also has the honour of being listed as one of the “10 BEST Suppliers of Chip-Making Equipment.”

FormFactor’s impact on the industry is reflected in its extensive reach. With over 10,000 probe systems installed globally, the company ships more than 115 million Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) probes annually. The commitment to customer success is evident through a workforce of 2,300 employees, with over 500 dedicated to direct customer support. FormFactor operates 23 service and repair centers, 13 sales offices, and 10 design centers. The company’s origin traces back to 1993 when Igor Khandros, a former IBM researcher, pioneered the development of the wire-bonded MicroSpring—a foundational technology with broad applications in the semiconductor industry. Today, FormFactor is a leader in various product categories.

FormFactor offers an extensive range of high-end, high-performance analytical probe stations in the probe systems sector. The Analytical Probes portfolio of the company includes more than 50 models intended for characterization at the wafer, package, and board levels. These DC, RF, and mixed-signal probes meet the needs of a wide variety of probing settings, demonstrating FormFactor’s dedication to application flexibility in testing.

Producing a wide array of high-performance solutions specifically designed for memory, RF, foundry, and logic devices, FormFactor is a leader in the development of Probe Cards. The company’s commitment to raising industry-wide efficiency is shown in these probe cards, which are essential for semiconductor manufacturers in maximizing production costs and yields.

FormFactor’s foray into Quantum Cryogenics is evidence of their innovative thinking. The company provides quantum engineers with state-of-the-art cryogenic test and measurement solutions. These solutions include cryostats, magnetometry systems, chip-scale and wafer-probing devices, and contract test services. 

Applications for FormFactor’s wide range of products can be found in many different industries, from the production test floor to engineering labs. The company’s significant contributions to a variety of sectors demonstrate its dedication to research and development. In the DC Parametric Test, FormFactor performs exceptionally well, offering precise and reproducible results that greatly lower testing uncertainty for electronic devices. The company uses precision in measuring low-frequency noise at the wafer level in the field of low-frequency noise testing to solve a significant performance limiter of electronic devices. In the field of power semiconductors, FormFactor is essential because it makes it possible to test next-generation power devices safely, which is essential for technological advancement.

In the RF/mmW and 5G domains, the business tackles the difficulty of testing a broad spectrum of frequencies while maintaining high throughput. Under the Terahertz testing area, FormFactor pushes test frequency limits to terahertz extremes in the exploration of new materials and semiconductor technology. Furthermore, FormFactor enhances device performance in the mm-wave Load-Pull market by optimizing the power or efficiency of RF devices via load-pull tuners.

FormFactor integrates integrated circuits and optical communications, which has a substantial impact on the application of Silicon Photonics technology. In the field of optical technologies, the company’s involvement is critical in enabling demanding tests for light-emitting devices, like VCSELs and MicroLEDs. FormFactor aids in the testing and characterization of quantum computing devices in the emerging field of quantum computing, even at temperatures close to absolute zero. Last but not least, FormFactor facilitates the commercialization of products demanding cryogenic temperatures by offering superior automation capabilities in conjunction with high-performance cryogenic probe systems. 

Products from FormFactor are essential to guaranteeing ICs in a variety of sectors are reliable and high-quality. The company is a major player in the development of AI processors, memory solutions, CPUs, sophisticated packaging technologies, and quantum computing in the domains of computing, data centers, and quantum. 

FormFactor’s products help the advancement of communication technology standards by enabling precise measurements in difficult mm-wave and terahertz frequency bands for 5G and 6G communications. FormFactor’s expertise is beneficial to the automotive industry because it is used to test microchips needed for driver assistance systems, in-car entertainment systems, and self-driving cars. Also, FormFactor meets special and difficult requirements for semiconductor devices in the aerospace and defense sector. This helps to support crucial applications in satellite deployment, defense observation, and aircraft guidance and control, ensuring the security and dependability of these essential systems.

The leadership of FormFactor is helmed by Thomas St. Dennis, the Chairperson of the Board of Directors, and Michael Slessor, serving as the President and Chief Executive Officer. FormFactor, Inc. is an important player in the semiconductor industry, dedicated to technological growth across several industries, client satisfaction, and innovation. Its global reach and wide range of products play a major role in shaping semiconductor technologies.