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FormFactor: Fast-Testing Sensitive Semiconductor Expertise Vital for Emerging Quantum Industry

FormFactor offers decades of experience serving high profile customers in classical semiconductor test and measurement to foster the quantum industry.

The quantum computing landscape is just starting to form and the industry is in its relatively early stages. But, with an estimated $25 billion of committed government investment, and record private capital flowing into the market during the last year, quantum is one of the most rapidly growing industries. With that much on the line, companies competing in this emerging industry must connect immediately with partners that have expertise and experience in handling precise scientific and technological challenges.

While the quantum industry is young, FormFactor (NASDAQ:FORM) offers just this type of expertise and experience. The company has decades of experience serving high profile customers in classical semiconductor test and measurement to foster companies bringing solutions in this new quantum world.

Paving The Way Toward Quantum

While there are various approaches to building useful quantum computers, almost all the companies developing these approaches are trying to scale up to more and higher quality qubits. Just as a bit is the basic form of classical information, a qubit is the basic unit of quantum information. Unlike the comparatively hearty classical bit, qubits are extremely sensitive to any noise — temperature, magnetic, etc. — environment. That makes scaling both vital and extremely challenging. Useful quantum computers also rely on using extra qubits to error correct other qubits to make a logical qubit that can actually perform calculations.

Quantum Archives - FormFactor, Inc.To reduce the disturbance and protect the highly sensitive atomic particles that make up these error-correcting and logical qubits, many quantum computers must operate at extremely low – or cryogenic temperatures that can reach 100 millikelvin and below. Operating in this type of environment requires that each piece of equipment — every cable, microwave pulse generator and chip — needs to be tested for efficacy at low temperature, which can be painstaking and time consuming.

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As a result, this complexity and painstaking testing times add to the challenges of organizations hoping to scale quantum devices to fit practical uses.

FormFactor offers a solution.

According to Mike Slessor, FormFactor President and CEO, the Livermore, Calif.-based company has deep experience and expertise in developing fast and effective testing in the semiconductor industry. FormFactor is an industry leader providing advanced solutions for on-wafer testing and measurement, including engineering probe stations, analytical probes, probe cards, and more.

About FormFactor Inc. - #1 Advanced Probe Card SupplierThe company also has a long history of providing service to customers in industries that conduct operations in very low temperature environments, close to absolute zero — such as semiconductor customers, U.S. government contractors and national labs.

“The ability to conduct testing at or below 4 Kelvin is critical to the development of superconducting circuits,” said Vern Boyle, vice president, advanced processing solutions at Northrop Grumman. “Performing these tests at the wafer-level provides a significant increase in production throughput at scale.”

Experience and Expertise to Fit Unique Needs of Quantum

Now, FormFactor is taking this experience and expertise in working in the classical computing realm and leveraging that to provide service and solutions in the emerging quantum space and the unique needs of the organizations working in this area. The company acquired High Precision Devices (HPD), a leader in precision cryogenic instruments, which will further expand and diversify the company so that it can meet the growing demand for quantum technologies, superconducting computing and ultra-sensitive sensor markets.

FormFactor can deliver a rapid speed up to accelerate quantum research and time to data. This means that researchers can obtain high quality cryogenic test and measurement data in hours, compared to what historically has taken days, or even weeks.

Quantum Computing & Cryogenic Probing | FormFactor Inc.

Advanced Cryogenic Lab

Quantum developers can now leverage FormFactor’s state-of-the-art Advanced Cryogenic Lab located at Boulder, Colorado, to characterize qubits and resonators using cryostats with groundbreaking probe sockets to accelerate development cycles by more than 2X, with no up-front capital investment.

“This is an excellent example of combining Keysight’s Quantum Control System with cryogenic systems and probes like FormFactor’s to capture pertinent data to accelerate quantum computing development cycles.”

The Advanced Cryogenic Lab features an integrated measurement solution developed by FormFactor and Keysight for pre-screening qubit devices at 50 millikelvin. Quantum system engineers can now collect critical qubit performance data to quickly eliminate sub-optimal devices before integrating them into quantum computers, enabling more effective utilization of expensive dilution refrigerators. In addition, FormFactor’s innovative cryogenic probe interface replaces the current process of wire bonding a chip to a test board, eliminating days of sample preparation time.

“This is an excellent example of combining Keysight’s Quantum Control System with cryogenic systems and probes like FormFactor’s to capture pertinent data to accelerate quantum computing development cycles,” said Liz Ruetsch, General Manager of Quantum Engineering Services at Keysight.

The process is described in a recent case study with a leading superconducting qubit developer using FormFactor’s Model 106 ADR (Adiabatic Demagnetization Refrigerator) Cryostat and PQ500 Probe Socket, as well as Keysight’s PXI-based Quantum Control System with Labber control software.

To request more information about FormFactor’s cryogenic test services, visit FormFactor, working with QEDC, also introduced a cryo test service in January. Here’s a video for more information on the service.


If you found this article to be informative, you can explore more current quantum news here, exclusives, interviews, and podcasts.

Matt Swayne

With a several-decades long background in journalism and communications, Matt Swayne has worked as a science communicator for an R1 university for more than 12 years, specializing in translating high tech and deep tech for the general audience. He has served as a writer, editor and analyst at The Quantum Insider since its inception. In addition to his service as a science communicator, Matt also develops courses to improve the media and communications skills of scientists and has taught courses. [email protected]

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