Automotive semiconductor test key topic at ITC

Jan. 24, 2017
ITC exhibit floor from roof of the NXP Smarter World Tour
Courtesy of Rick Nelson

When the 2016 International Test Conference convened in November in Fort Worth, TX, automotive semiconductor test was the key topic, with a special technical session on the subject including presentations from Bosch, Intel, STMicroelectronics, and Synopsys.

In addition, Roberto Lissoni, ST corporate quality director, delivered a presentation titled “Manufacturing Test Challenges for IoT and Automotive Market Segments,” in which he described his company’s use of Optimal+ software. The presentation was another in a series of sessions hosted by Optimal+ to highlight its customers’ experiences using Optimal+ software.

On the exhibit floor, Synopsys presented news on a variety of fronts. The company announced that Imagination Technologies is leveraging Synopsys’ DesignWare STAR Memory System for memory built-in self-test and repair of its new MIPS I6500 processor. The company also announced that automotive semiconductor suppliers including Elmos Semiconductor, MegaChips, Micronas, Renesas Electronics, and Toshiba are deploying its IC test solution for higher levels of quality, reliability, and functional safety. Looking toward the future, Synopsys announced it is expanding its test and yield analysis solution targeting FinFET-specific defects to enable higher quality testing, repair, diagnostics, and yield analysis of advanced 7-nm SoCs.

Mentor Graphics highlighted its new Tessent DefectSim product, which measures the defect coverage of any test applied to an analog or mixed-signal circuit. DefectSim can improve the quality and reliability of analog and mixed-signal circuits through the selection of more effective tests. Further, it can reduce the cost of test by showing which tests do not increase coverage. The company also highlighted its Tessent SiliconInsight product—an automated interactive environment for test bring-up, debug, and silicon characterization.

Also on the exhibit floor, Pickering Interfaces showcased its range of PXI and LXI switching solutions and software. Highlights include a modular LXI reed-relay high-density matrix originally designed to test semiconductors at wafer and package levels. The reed-relay matrix solution combines the company’s Model 65-200 LXI modular matrix chassis with new plug-in matrix modules that provide access to all signal connections on 200-pin connectors. Sibling company Pickering Electronics also was on hand to highlight its reed-relay components.

ATE makers on the exhibit floor included Astronics Test Systems and Marvin Test Solutions. Astronics highlighted its new system-level test (SLT) platform that is expected to revolutionize the testing of high-volume integrated semiconductor devices. The new ATS 5034 SLT platform improves production efficiency and reduces the cost of test by processing up to 396 devices simultaneously. Marvin Test featured its TS-960e semiconductor test platform, a flexible, open-architecture semiconductor test solution that offers PXI Express performance and digital, mixed-signal, and RF test capabilities in a compact, single-chassis footprint. Also, Advantest highlighted its EVA100 compact measurement system with supporting power supplies, SMU, pattern generators, arbitrary waveform generators, digitizers, and oscilloscopes necessary for analog/mixed-signal device evaluation and measurement.

Also on the exhibit floor, yieldWerx highlighted its flexible, end-to-end yield management solution—yieldWerx Enterprise, which can optimize equipment throughput, achieve entitled yields faster, automate and monitor quality metrics, and transform data from multiple sources into actionable information. Ridgetop highlighted its Prognostic Health Maintenance systems, its InstaCell and PDKChek microelectronic test structures, the ProChek family of semiconductor characterization instruments, mini-QStar test modules, and silicon-proven mixed-signal IP cores, including MEMS sensor technology. In addition, the company is highlighting standalone sensors and sensor measurement packages for IoT applications. Also, Versatile Power exhibited its Bench XR Series 600-W programmable power supply, which comes in a high-density 1U package, supports wireless digital remote sensing, and accepts Ethernet, USB, and analog inputs.

And finally, NXP brought its Smarter World Tour to the exhibit floor. Housed in a semi-trailer, the tour features more than 180 IoT and related demos, letting attendees interact with ADAS systems, RF cooking devices, smart home automation, wearables, and more.

Although not exhibiting, Cadence Design Systems presented its Cadence Modus test solution in a private meeting room. Modus offers a new physically aware 2D Elastic Compression architecture that can reduce test time by up to three times with no impact on fault coverage or die size, the company said. Alternatively, if design closure is a high priority, the Modus Test Solution delivers an up to 2.6x reduction in compression logic wirelength without impact on fault coverage or test time.

Also sponsoring but not exhibiting was SL Power, which highlighted its line of power supplies for test and measurement applications such as the new TB110 Series internal power supplies. TB110 models offer up to 90% efficiency and a compact form factor. These new models are suitable when high efficiency as well as superior EMI protection and EMC performance are required.

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