Testing IoT Devices


Internet of Things devices present new challenges in testing. Some devices can be tested the same way as standard semiconductors are now tested, but others call for different approaches. Microcontrollers and other chips that go into safety-critical applications — medical devices, military/aerospace systems, and automotive electronics — need their own kind of testing to make sure they wil... » 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

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

How Testing MEMS, Sensors Is Different


When it comes to testing microelectromechanical system devices and sensors, sometimes you have to shake and bake. [getkc id="311" comment="MEMS"] and [getkc id="187" kc_name="sensors"] are physically different from standard ICs. They require a specific type of stimulus to get the required testing results. Most chips only need to have an electrical charge run through them to gauge their pass/... » 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

Addressing Test Time Challenges


Unit test time on automated test equipment (ATE) is one of the major components that affects the total cost of manufacturing for semiconductor suppliers. The test programs for each unit can be comprised of thousands of parametric and functional tests that are performed to screen out defective units or dies. However, tester time is expensive, so suppliers are always looking for ways to reduce th... » read more

Standardizing Platforms From Characterization To Production


In 1983, the first commercial mobile phone retailed for $3995, almost $10,000 in today’s economy. It supported a single band, weighed almost a kilogram, and was about the size of a brick. Two decades later, a quad-band “world phone” costs a few hundred dollars. Even a basic mobile phone that supports over 20 cellular bands, in addition to Bluetooth, Wireless LAN, and GPS technology, ... » read more

Analog Fault Simulation Challenges And Solutions


The test time for digital circuit blocks in ICs has greatly decreased in the last 20 years, thanks to scan-based design-for-test (DFT), automatic test pattern generation (ATPG) tools, and scan compression. These technologies have greatly reduced the number of test vectors applied by automatic test equipment (ATE) while maximizing the coverage of a wide range of defect types. But for analog c... » read more

A New Approach For IC Test


Since its inception, a founding principle of the semiconductor industry has been to continually improve performance while driving down cost. In other words, offer more for the money. However, amid greater device complexity, shorter product cycles, and relentless cost pressure, the test portion represents an increasing percentage of the total IC cost and a significant part of the product develop... » read more

ATE: The Road Ahead


Watching the ATE market is like having a front-row seat to watch the semiconductor industry's ups and downs, with none of the hype to confuse you. So 2014 was a very good market for SoC test, and it likewise a good year for SoCs. As we head into the latter half of this year and into 2016, however, a projected downturn in the mobile arena will likely put a crimp in those earnings. The prob... » read more

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