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Five Key Success Factors for Automotive Device Test

By Kotaro Hasegawa, Senior Director, ADS System Planning Department, Advantest Corp.

 

The number of automotive-related semiconductor devices being designed into vehicles has been growing rapidly due to increased requirements associated with safety, in-vehicle entertainment, and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS; see Figure 1). As ADAS content advances, we move closer to autonomous vehicle driving (Figure 2), which will require even more devices.

Figure 1. Automotive-related device market trends (Fuji Chimera Research Institute, Inc., 2017)

In turn, as this demand, goes up, production volumes for application-specific standard products (ASSPs) need to escalate. Thus, more cost-effective testing solutions are required to improve cost of test (COT) while maintaining test quality. Automotive devices must work all the time – this is a critical safety factor, made even more so in the ADAS era. Thus, maintaining high device quality in mass production is essential to developing automotive ASSP device test cells.

Below are five key factors associated with achieving testing success and helping ensure high quality as emerging automotive ASSPs enter into mass production.

Figure 2. Definition of ADAS levels (copyright SAE International, 2014)

1. Optimized Parallelism Optimized Parallelism
Typically, when testing system-on-chip (SoCs) on automated test equipment, parallelism is mainly defined by resource counts. To increase the amount of parallelism, you simply add further resources onto the tester and align them with the prober or handler. Automotive ASSPs, however, involve a large amount of analog testing using an external control circuit due to the need to simulate an application model for high-quality testing. Performance board (loadboard) space is required to mount all components necessary for testing the device under test (DUT).

In many cases, even with sufficient resources on the test head, loadboard space limitations prevent achieving the desired level of parallelism, which, in turn, limits productivity. One way to address this challenge is to expand the printed circuit board (PCB) area to ensure enough space is available to mount all components, but sometimes even this step is not sufficient.

The Advantest T2000 test platform incorporates two capabilities that address these parallelism limitations, allowing it to achieve greater parallelism than competitive platforms:

  • Reduction in application relays on loadboard – up to 40 percent fewer in some cases – provided by the T2000’s multifunctional modules (Figure 3).
  • Wider PCB support with RECT550EX fixture (HIFIX) – this feature can enable a 140-pin automotive ASSP device to expand x4 DUT testing to x8 DUT testing, as an example (see Figure 4).

Figure 3. Example of T2000 relay reduction multifunctional module

 

Figure 4. T2000 RECT550EX fixture (HIFIX)

2. Reduced Test Time Reduced Test Time
Once devices enter high-volume manufacture, test-time reduction becomes even more critical. The T2000 includes some unique features to improve productivity while maintaining test quality, enabling best-in-class performance.

Typically, test systems require the user to power off, change mode, and power on again, but this takes a great deal of time. The T2000 architecture’s switching methodology reduces power spikes by enabling mode switching during test. This reduced switching time is ideal for devices that are extremely COT and time-to-market (TTM) sensitive, such as automotive ASSPs.
Another testing method is to monitor the output behavior of the DUT. With the T2000, the hardware module can automatically detect the device output, and if there is any change in device state, the module can halt the arbitrary waveform generator’s (AWG) input as needed and assess the test result, then immediately move on to the next test item (see Figure 5). This capability speeds the process because waiting to receive the full-scale AWG output isn’t necessary.

Figure 5. Test time reduction method on AWG

3. Wide Coverage Wide Coverage
The T2000 features 52 test head slots, allowing a reach of more than 8,000 digital and 6,400 analog channels. This lets the user obtain the best resourcing fit, choosing from wide variety of T2000 modules available. In addition, the T2000 can deliver both high voltage (up to 2000 V) and current (up to 216 A). With this wider coverage, the platform can be utilized to test automotive ASSPs, power management integrated circuits (PMICs), light-emitting diode (LED) drivers, and other devices with high resource requirements (see Figure 6).

Figure 6. The T2000’s test segment coverage is among the industry’s widest

1. Test quality
Advantest integrated into the T2000 platform a long lifecycle, as well as testing stability, accuracy and reliability. The platform and modules possess unique hardware/software design rules in order to achieve high-quality hardware. All modules are developed based on these design rules, including selection of the ICs for the module, to help ensure high system quality and reliability. These are key factors for testing quality-sensitive devices such as automotive ASSPs.

5. Field Proven
It takes a long time to launch new automotive-related devices into the market, and the test process is highly sensitive to changes in the production environment. Selecting a proven platform that includes all necessary capabilities is key to optimal testing of automotive-related devices. In addition, newer devices targeting this market will be highly integrated to include more functionality, voltage coverage, current, and frequency. In addition to being field-proven, the test system implemented will need to offer the widest coverage so that it is flexible and extendible.

Worldwide, more than 3,900 T2000 modules designed especially for automotive ASSP testing are already installed, and further growth is expected as the market for these devices continues to expand.

Given its combination of high-quality test, high productivity and widest device segment coverage, the T2000 is well suited for testing automotive and other quality-sensitive devices.

 

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New Pick-and-Place IC Handler Improves Efficiency in High-Volume Semiconductor Manufacturing and Device Characterization

With an eye on helping customers keep pace with the rapidly evolving system-on-chip (SoC) market, Advantest’s new M4872 pick-and-place handler is designed to rapidly adapt to changes in device technology.  It offers improved productivity in testing SoC devices in high-volume manufacturing (HVM) and device characterization pre-production environments. 

The new handler matches all of the leading-edge performance specifications of its predecessor, the M4871, including throughput of up to 15,000 units per hour, in a footprint that is approximately 10 percent smaller. The portable M4872 handler has advanced vision-alignment capabilities and can accommodate an optional active thermal control system.

The vision alignment-equipped M4872 incorporates a common change kit, which saves time and money and also significantly shortens time to market.  In total, the time it takes to change device types is reduced by more than 45 percent, enabling nearly twice the throughput of handlers that rely on standard change kits.

Advantest’s proprietary on-the-fly vision-alignment technology precisely positions devices under test, making the new handler ideally suited for testing fine-pitch ICs and devices with both top- and bottom-side contacts. The resulting improvements in test yields and cycle times contribute to higher overall productivity.

The M4872 also includes an automatic re-test function that transfers all failed ICs into the loader stocker, helping to avoid time-consuming operator assistance and reducing IoT test times by 20 percent or more.

The scalable M4872 handler is compatible with the V93000 platform for low-cost testing in R&D and high-mix, low-volume production.  Handler operation is made simple by a user-friendly GUI with pre-defined functions.

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New T2000 AiR Targets Low-Volume Testing of Highly Integrated Modules and SiP Devices

 

Global market demand continues to grow for smartphones and other mobile electronic devices as well as consumer and enterprise services offered over the internet.  This trend is driving the need for increased production of complex semiconductor devices and modules that integrate MCUs and application processors to perform multiple functions, including telecommunications, power management and sensing.

t2000-air-soc-test-system

T2000 AiR

Advantest’s new T2000 AiR system is a compact, air-cooled system optimized for low-cost testing in R&D and high-mix, low-volume production, and offers broad test coverage for these diverse modules and system-in- package (SiP) devices.  With its modular architecture providing maximum flexibility, the tester can be configured with up to six discrete air-cooled measurement modules. This enables single-system test coverage for a wide array of highly integrated, multi-functional devices. Designed to perform digital functions and SCAN testing over as many as 512 channels in parallel, the system can test high-voltage devices up to 2,000 volts, high-precision DC converters, automotive DC devices, mixed-signal ICs with bandwidths up to 100 MHz, RF communication chips and CMOS image sensors.

integrated-zero-test-station-zero-footprint-test-cell-solution

T2000 AiR with M48XX Handler

The new tester can be integrated with the M48xx series of handlers to create a highly efficient, zero-footprint test cell solution, which Advantest refers to as its Integrated Zero Test Station.  Because the T2000 AiR does not require water cooling, it can be installed anywhere.  Additionally, the system’s software environment is fully compatible with the highly scalable T2000 series, making it capable of conducting massively parallel testing and facilitating smooth production ramps to help customers reduce their newest products’ time to market.  Shipments to customers are expected to begin in the first quarter of calendar year 2017.

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T5830 Systems Offers Cost-Efficient Testing of High-Volume, Cost-Sensitive Flash Memories

 

Advantest’s newest memory tester delivers full ATE capability and scalable performance to address the booming IoT and smart card markets. T5830 is the latest member of the T5800 product family, and is optimized for testing a wide range of flash memory devices used in mobile electronic devices. The highly flexible T5830 tester has all of the capabilities needed to perform wafer sorting and final testing of price-sensitive flash memories. It uses a scalable, built-in high-current programmable power supply (PPS) architecture that provides the flexibility and economic performance to handle low-pin-count to high-pin-count devices. The system also leverages Advantest’s innovative Tester-per-Site™ design. This allows each site to operate independently, enabling very fast test times and lowering the overall cost of test.

With an operating frequency of 400 MHz, the tester is capable of handling data transfer rates of up to 800 megabits per second (Mbps). In addition, the T5830 can handle up to 2,304 devices under test (DUTs) at one time when configured with four digital pins.

t5800This new tester is ideally suited for handling a wide range of devices including NOR and NAND flash memories that use the standard serial peripheral interface (SPI) protocol, low-pin-count flash devices such as smart cards and single in-line memories (SIM), electrically erasable programmable read-only memories (EEPROMs) and other embedded flash devices.

The T5830 tester is available in both production and engineering models, making the system applicable for qualification testing as well as high-volume production. It is built on the same platform and uses the same FutureSuite™ software as all other members of the T5800 product line. This enhances the system’s reliability and provides modular upgradeability.

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Photoacoustic Microscope Furthers Research in Dermatology and Regenerative Science

A new photoacoustic microscope introduced by Advantest enables non-invasive imaging of blood vessels in the dermis to a depth of 3mm, affording researchers in regenerative medicine an alternative to conventional biopsies.  Unlike biopsies – which have shortcomings, including limited insight into changes over time – Advantest’s new Hadatomo photoacoustic microscope offers researchers a thoroughly non-invasive process, with an ability to easily reference and compare historical results. This new evaluation method is poised to contribute to further advances in regenerative medicine, dermatology, and plastic surgery.

microscope

Hadatomo™ Photoacoustic Microscope

Non-Invasive Imaging of Blood Vessels in the Dermis

One important area of research in regenerative medicine is skin grafts and the restoration of blood supply to the transplanted skin. However, even when treatment has restored blood circulation, non-invasive evaluation of results is difficult. Conventional ultrasound is not suited for imaging of blood vessels in the dermis: although it can produce images of areas deep inside the body, its resolution is poor. Conversely, microscopes and other optical imaging tools offer high resolution, but they cannot produce images of deeper dermis areas, as living tissue scatters the light they require.

Photoacoustic imaging combines the propagation characteristics of ultrasound and the absorption characteristics of light into a new hybrid imaging method. By using ultrasound technology, it can obtain accurate information to a depth of several millimeters: hemoglobin selectively absorbs the energy of light and returns ultrasonic waves to the surface of the skin, where they can be captured by sensors. The information obtained can be displayed numerically and as a high-contrast map of blood vessels in the dermis.

microscope2

Principles of Photoacoustic Imaging

Advantest has been developing photoacoustic technology since 2010. The company’s independently developed sensors and electrical circuits permit high-speed measurement without exceeding the MPE (maximum permissible exposure) guidelines for exposure of skin to a light source. The new Hadatomo offers a measurement area of 4 mm × 4 mm × 3 mm (depth) and a maximum speed of 20 seconds per scan. Proprietary algorithms process the data obtained through dedicated software and construct 2D and 3D images in quasi-real time.

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High Resolution TDR Error Detection for Advanced ICs

Short-pulse Signal Technology Enables 5µm Resolution Fault Isolation to Pinpoint and Map Circuit Defects

Electronic device circuit quality analysis is commonly performed using oscilloscope TDR (time domain reflectometry). However, as devices grow smaller and more highly integrated, the ability to locate failures with extreme spatial precision has become increasingly more important. Existing measurement instruments have limited resolution, as the rise time of the short pulse cannot be compressed much further, creating the risk that existing analysis technologies will be inadequate to handle the requirements of the highly integrated devices on the horizon.
Advantest’s terahertz analysis technology addresses these concerns and meets the need for ultra-high-resolution measurement and analysis of complex electrical circuits by utilizing short-pulse signal technology to enable 5µm resolution fault isolation to pinpoint and map circuit defects.

The company’s new TDR Option for the TS9000 series of terahertz analysis systems enables analysis of circuit quality in semiconductors, printed substrates, electronic components, and other applications, utilizing short-pulse terahertz waves.

ts9000

TS9000 TDR Option probe station

The TS9000 TDR Option relies on Advantest’s market-proven TDR/TDT measurement technology to pinpoint and map circuit defects utilizing short-pulse signal processing. The solution delivers circuit analysis with an extremely high spatial precision of less than 5µm, and a maximum measurement range of 300 mm, including for internal circuitry used in through-silicon vias (TSVs) and interposers. Moreover, with the optional TDR/TDT CAD Data Link, errors located can be mapped and displayed on the CAD data of the target device, making it much easier for users to identify the causes of errors. Three types of TDR/TDT probes, each with a different resolution and measurement distance setting, are available for the TS9000 TDR Option, as are customizations for unique contact requirements.

3d-semiconductor

ts9000-2

3D semiconductor wiring failures and TDR measurement examples

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