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Semiconductor Test Sockets: Precision and Reliability

Semiconductor Test Sockets: Precision and Reliability

Electronic instruments and devices are at the heart of the technological revolution we’re witnessing across various industrial sectors, including medical, automotive, and aerospace. The reliability and quality of microchips and CPUs are crucial to ensure the proper functioning of sensors, machines, and devices. Test sockets are therefore critical tools for guaranteeing that microchips and CPUs meet electrical specifications.

What are Test Sockets?

Test sockets are critical components in the semiconductor industry. During the testing phase, they serve as an electro-mechanical interface between the Device Under Test (DUT) and the Automated Test Equipment (ATE), performing several functions:

  • Physical Connection: The test socket physically houses the chip, aligning it perfectly with the ATE contacts.
  • Clean Electrical Path: The test socket ensures a low-resistance, low-noise path for signals used in the test procedure, which can reach gigahertz frequencies.
  • Mechanical Adaptability: The test socket must maintain constant contact. It contains spring probes that compress to compensate for small dimensional variations.

Esempio socket in plastica 4polimero per test microprocessori

Anatomy of a Test Socket

Test sockets are complex assemblies, but their structure can be simplified as follows:

  • Socket Body: A structure made of high-performance plastic material (such as PI, PEEK, or PEI) with precisely machined cavities designed to accommodate the chip being tested.
  • Spring Probes (Pins): Inserted into the cavities, these pins ensure electrical connection. They must handle high currents, low resistances, and high frequencies, and be able to ensure constant electrical continuity through elastic spring elements (often constructed by milling plastic material).
  • Auxiliary Mechanical Elements: May include a cover, retention plate, or frame for a robust mechanical interface.

Geartec positions itself in the market as a reliable and cutting-edge manufacturer of test socket components made from polymeric and composite materials, capable of meeting specifications that often require the milling of microcomponents characterized by tight tolerance ranges.


Esempio socket in plastica 4polimero per test microprocessori

Why Precision is Crucial

The production of test socket components often poses challenging manufacturing requirements:

  • Reduced Dimensions: With increasingly smaller chips (under 5 mm), test sockets require housing structures with reduced dimensions and micrometric holes (down to 0.1 mm in diameter) characterized by very tight tolerance ranges.
  • Dimensional Stability: Minimal variations can cause false negatives in tests. Geartec’s production process often uses a thermal stabilization treatment to eliminate internal stresses caused by the material removal process.
  • High Test Cycles: Each individual socket must be able to reliably test millions of chips and must be constructed with wear-resistant and dimensionally stable materials such as ceramic-filled PEEK.

Geartec’s Approach:

Geartec specializes in milling plastic and composite materials and offers a separate department expressly dedicated to the micromachining necessary for the electronics and semiconductor sectors, characterized by:

  • High-speed machine tools
  • Measuring instruments capable of assessing the reduced dimensions that characterize parts intended for this sector
  • Trained, qualified personnel specialized in micro-milling of high-performance polymers


  • The parts produced by Geartec are further characterized by:
  • High-performance materials such as PI, PEEK, and PEI, guaranteeing thermal and dimensional stability
  • Controlled and tracked production and quality control process (ensuring complete traceability of every part manufactured and delivered)


In conclusion, Geartec is the ideal partner for the electronics industry and for manufacturers of test sockets or chip and CPU control equipment seeking a reliable supplier capable of meeting the challenges presented by the production of complex parts in plastic and composite materials.