Memory Test Challenges, Opportunities


The semiconductor capital equipment market is on fire, and the memory chip test equipment sector is no different. But it is getting much more difficult on the memory side. Memory test vendors are contending with next-generation devices, such as 3D NAND flash memories, HBM2 chips, low-power double-data-rate DRAMs, graphics DRAMs, phase-change memories, magnetoresistive RAMs, and resistive RAM... » read more

The 2017 International Test Conference


Machine learning is a hot topic at many technical conferences this year. It will be true at the upcoming International Test Conference, which opens near the end of this month in Fort Worth, Texas. On Sunday, October 29, there are two tutorials devoted to machine learning. Monday, October 30, will have one tutorial related to the topic. The conference gets fully under way on Halloween, wit... » read more

Toward System-Level Test


The push toward more complex integration in chips, advanced packaging, and the use of those chips for new applications is turning the test world upside down. Most people think of test as a single operation that is performed during manufacturing. In reality it is a portfolio of separate operations, and the number of tests required is growing as designs become more heterogeneous and as they ar... » read more

The Future Of Human/Machine Interaction Is Personal


What comes to mind when you think of a human/machine interface? Something close at hand like your smartphone’s GPS and the ATMs at your bank? Something futuristic like flying cars and jetpacks? Something dangerous like menacing cyborgs? As technology becomes more pervasive in our everyday activities, there are a growing number of human/machine interfaces. They also are becoming more personal.... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers Who will buy Toshiba’s memory business? In the latest of what is becoming a confusing saga, Toshiba has signed a deal to sell its memory unit to a group led by Bain Capital. The Bain-led consortium will hold a 49.9% stake in the memory unit, while Toshiba will hold 40.2% and Japan’s Hoya will own 9.9%. Other members in the group include Apple, Dell, Kingston, and Seagate. In add... » read more

The Future of Testing


In our previous test blog posts, we looked at the history of automated test equipment for semiconductors and for printed circuit boards. This month, we look ahead to the test technologies that are emerging. The chip ATE field has essentially boiled down to Advantest, Teradyne, and Xcerra (LTX-Credence), while the board test market is dominated by Teradyne and Keysight Technologies (formerly ... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Fab equipment and test VLSI Research has released its top 10 semiconductor equipment supplier ranking in terms of sales in 2016. Applied Materials topped the list again, achieving a growth of 18%. ASML was second, followed by Lam Research, TEL and KLA-Tencor. Fig. 1: Ranking based on 2016 sales. Source: VLSI Research. Unic Capital Management, a Chinese-based private equity fund, announ... » read more

Time For Massively Parallel Testing


Time is money in electronics, as in other industries, and the more time that is invested in testing chips means more costs being added to the product in question. To speed up testing for memory devices and other semiconductors, test equipment vendors have resorted to parallel testing technology, simultaneously testing multiple chips at a time. The industry also is turning to system-level tes... » read more

A Brief History of Test


The history of semiconductor test systems is the subject of this blog post. We’ll turn to printed circuit board testing at another time. Boston-based Teradyne sold its D133 diode tester to Raytheon in 1961. Five years later, it introduced the J259 integrated circuit tester, which had a minicomputer to run the test programs. For many, this marks the beginning of automatic (or automated) tes... » read more

GPU Accelerated Computing


The computing applications used in semiconductor design and manufacturing have ever-increasing requirements for speed, accuracy and reliability. The continuation of Moore's Law creates a perpetual demand for greater accuracy as, with each new process node, larger numbers of increasingly smaller features are crowded onto each mask and wafer. Computing farms, where thousands of central processing... » read more

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