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

Sizing up China’s Fab Tool Biz


China is pouring billions of dollars into its semiconductor industry and is building several new fabs. As reported, China is bolstering its IC industry for good reason. China is trying to reduce its huge trade imbalance in ICs. The country continues to import a large percentage of its chips from foreign vendors. Behind the scenes, China also continues to develop its domestic semiconductor eq... » 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

2.5D Adds Test Challenges


OSATs and ATE vendors are making progress in determining what works and what doesn't in 2.5D packaging, expanding their knowledge base as this evolves into a mainstream technology. A [getkc id="82" kc_name="2.5D"] package generally includes an ASIC connected to a stack of memory chips—usually high-bandwidth memory—using an [getkc id="204" kc_name="interposer"] or some type of silicon bri... » read more

SEMICON Taiwan’s Packaging Punch


SEMICON Taiwan packed a punch, setting several new records and new heights in 2015. This year marked the 20th anniversary of SEMICON in Taiwan and was the largest SEMICON in Taiwan ever, with a Nobel Prize winner (Professor Shuji Nakamura, 2014’s winner) keynoting the Executive Summit, Taiwan’s President Ma speaking at the hugely attended Gala Dinner, and 2015 on track for TSMC to be the wo... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


KKR, an investment firm, announced that it is leading a $42 million growth equity investment in Optimal+, a provider of manufacturing intelligence software solutions for adaptive IC test applications. In case you missed it, Apple rolled out its latest iPhones and other products. The latest iPhone 6 is using chips based on finFETs, according to AnandTech, a hi-tech site. Samsung is the main... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


IBM continues to cut jobs, according to IEEE Spectrum and an IBM employee organization. Meanwhile, IBM and SUNY Polytechnic Institute announced that more than 220 engineers and scientists who lead IBM's advanced chip R&D efforts at SUNY Poly's Albany Nanotech campus will become part of IBM Research. While military applications continue to experience strong growth in RF gallium-nitride (GaN)... » read more

SEMICON West Preview: Test


Talking with the speakers scheduled to speak in the programs on IC testing at SEMICON West this year, I was struck by how much this equipment sector is changing as the value moves to software and the cloud. It has to be the first time I’ve ever mentioned PayPal in the same paragraph with semiconductor equipment, to say nothing of the business model of free hardware with software subscription.... » read more

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