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The Search For 5G mmWave Filters


Cellular telephone technology takes advantage of a large number of frequency bands to provide ever-increasing bandwidth for mobile use. Each of those bands needs a filter to keep its signals separate from other bands, but the filter technologies in current use for cellphones may not scale up to the full millimeter-wave (mmWave) range planned for 5G. “MmWave will happen,” said Mike Eddy, ... » read more

Designing Chips For Test Data


Collecting data to determine the health of a chip throughout its lifecycle is becoming necessary as chips are used in more critical applications, but being able to access that data isn't always so simple. It requires moving signals through a complex, sometimes unpredictable, and often hostile environment, which is a daunting challenge under the best of conditions. There is a growing sense of... » read more

Why Wafer Bumps Are Suddenly So Important


Wafer bumps need to be uniform in height to facilitate subsequent manufacturing steps, but a push for 100% inspection in packaging in mission-critical markets is putting a strain on existing measurement technologies. Bump co-planarity is essentially a measure of flatness. Specifically, it measures the variation in bump height, which may have a target, for example, of about 100 microns. As a ... » read more

Characterization Of Micro-Bumps For 3DIC Wafer Acceptance Tests


The strong market needs to embed multiple functionalities from different semiconductor processing technologies into a single system continue to drive demands for more advanced 3DIC packaging technologies. Dimensions of copper pillar micro-bumps are consistently reduced in every new technology node to facilitate the 3D stacking of multiple dies so that overall system performance can be improved.... » read more

Production Testing For Silicon Photonics Wafers


Worldwide data centers and networks for communications currently consume about 8% of the Earth’s total energy produced. To meet the increasing demands for cloud storage, computing, and various emerging applications such as artificial intelligence, genomics revolution, and video transcoding, hyperscale data centers are being built around the world at an accelerated pace, with analysts predicti... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers Intel has outlined its new process technology roadmap with plans to regain the leadership position in the market. As part of the move, Intel has changed the way it designates the nodes, revealed its new gate-all-around (GAA) transistor, and disclosed a customer for the GAA technology--Qualcomm. And not to be outdone, Intel has broadened its packaging portfolio. Intel is changing ... » read more

The Great Quantum Computing Race


Quantum computing is heating up, as a growing number of entities race to benchmark, stabilize, and ultimately commercialize this technology. As of July 2021, a group from China appears to have taken the lead in terms of raw performance, but Google, IBM, Intel and other quantum computer developers aren’t far behind. All of that could change overnight, though. At this point, it's too early t... » read more

5G Chips Add Test Challenges


The advent of chips supporting millimeter-wave (mmWave) 5G signals is creating a new set of design and testing challenges. Effects that could be ignored at lower frequencies are now important. Performing high-volume test of RF chips will require much more from automated test equipment (ATE) than is required for chips operating below 6 GHz. “MmWave design is a pretty old thing,” said Y... » read more

Cleaning Up During IC Test


Test is a dirty business. It can contaminate a unit or wafer, or the test hardware, which in turn can cause problems in the field. While this has not gone unnoticed, particularly as costs rise due to increasing pin and ball density, and as more chips are bundled together in a package, the cost of dirt continues to be a focus. Cleaning recipes for test interface boards are changing, and analy... » read more

IC Data Hot Potato: Who Owns And Manages It?


Modern inspection, metrology, and test equipment produces a flood of data during the manufacturing and testing of semiconductors. Now the question is what to do with all of that data. Image resolutions in inspection and metrology have been improving for some time to deal with increased density and smaller features, creating a downstream effect that has largely gone unmanaged. Higher resoluti... » read more

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