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Advantest Joins European GaN4AP Consortium to Promote Pervasive Use of Gallium Nitride in Power Conversion Systems

Advantest Europe GmbH recently joined the European Union (EU)-sponsored consortium Gallium Nitride for Advanced Power Applications (GaN4AP). Launched in December 2021, the three-year project is focused on making GaN technology one of the main components in a broad spectrum of power converter systems. GaN-based electronics have the potential to enable drastic reductions in energy loss for electronics systems while ensuring high-frequency and higher-power-density operation. Developing new power supply devices and circuits using GaN-based electronics is viewed as crucial for the global competitiveness of EU industries.

GaN4AP comprises a diverse group of private companies, universities, and public research institutes working in the field of GaN materials, devices, and related applications. Advantest joined the consortium through engagement with key customers seeking to test GaN-based electronics in mass production. Participating expands our access to GaN technology, as well as our competitiveness in testing power semiconductors.

As the GaN4AP project’s lead ATE provider, Advantest will work to further address the testing demands of various markets leveraging power semiconductors that stand to realize significantly improved performance from the pervasive use of GaN, without sacrificing system size and cost. Examples include power transmission and distribution, consumer electronics, renewable energy, automotive, and other industrial applications.

“Advantest has been testing advanced compound semiconductors, including GaN devices, for some time,” said Michael Stichlmair, managing director, Advantest Europe. “Joining this exciting project is a logical next step in our efforts to continuously drive test innovation, allowing us to access new markets while contributing to broader use of GaN technology.”

To learn more about the GaN4AP project, click here.

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Advantest’s Hadatomo™ Z Photoacoustic Microscope Wins Laser Industry Encouragement Award

Advantest’s Hadatomo™ Z photoacoustic microscope received a Laser Industry Encouragement Award at the 13th Industry Awards sponsored by the Laser Society of Japan.

The Laser Society of Japan Industry Awards recognize “excellent achievements contributing to the development of the domestic laser-related industry in the practical application, and the dissemination of laser-related products and technologies,” according to the Society. Among several award categories, Encouragement Awards are given to products with notable potential for future market development.

Advantest’s Hadatomo™ Z simultaneously images the oxygen saturation of blood vessels with dual-wavelength photoacoustic technology, and dermal structure including skin texture, pores, and sebaceous glands with ultrasound. Accurately imaging vascular mechanisms up to a depth of 3 mm in the dermis makes it possible to observe vasodilation and blood circulation stimulation in near-real time. An optional dual-wavelength laser that can distinguish between melanin and blood vessels is also available. Currently, the product’s main applications are cosmetology and dermatological research, but its selection for the Encouragement Award underlines its future potential as a medical device. At the present time, the product is a scientific instrument, not an approved medical device.

This award reinforces Advantest’s commitment to developing the company’s photoacoustic technology further, so that the Hadatomo™ Z can contribute to the treatment and prevention of skin diseases.

The 13th Industry Awards of The Laser Society of Japan for fiscal year 2021

https://www.lsj.or.jp/en/the-13th-industry-award-on-the-laser-society-of-japan-in-fy-2021/

 

 

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Advantest Again Named THE BEST Supplier of Chip Making Equipment in VLSIresearch Customer Satisfaction Survey

 

Advantest Corporation has again topped the ratings chart of the 2021 VLSIresearch Customer Satisfaction Survey, capturing the No. 1 spot on this annual survey of global semiconductor companies for the second consecutive year. Advantest has now been named to VLSIresearch’s 10 BEST list for the 33rd consecutive year. The survey ratings are based on direct customer feedback representing 89 percent of the world’s chip producers — Integrated Device Manufacturers (IDMs), Foundry, Fabless, and Outsourced Semiconductor Assembly and Test (OSAT) companies. 

According to VLSIresearch, the world’s leading semiconductor market-research firm, Advantest ranked as THE BEST supplier of test equipment in 2020 and 2021 and topped the 10 BEST list of large suppliers of chip making equipment once again this year. Worldwide participants rated equipment suppliers among 14 categories based on three key factors:  supplier performance, customer service, and product performance. The categories span a set of criteria, from cost of ownership to quality of results, field engineering support, trust, and partnership.  

In the 2021 survey, Advantest achieved customer ratings 9.5/10 and above in categories including Recommended Supplier, Trust in Supplier, Technical Leadership, Partnering, and Field Engineering Support. According to VLSIresearch, Advantest continually ranks high among THE BEST Suppliers of Test Equipment and in 2021 was the only automatic test equipment supplier to receive a 5 VLSI Star designation. 

“Advantest’s ability to continually innovate and adapt to changing market dynamics while sustaining successful customer relationships is a testament to its strength as an ATE business partner,” commented G. Dan Hutcheson, CEO of VLSIresearch. “Throughout the industry, Advantest is recognized for its stability, product excellence, and customer service. Even during this tumultuous time, Advantest maintained its customer-first attitude and continued to enable customers to move forward with their latest chip designs and products. With its comprehensive product portfolio, broad slate of dedicated customers, and steadfast commitment to innovation, Advantest has deservedly earned the highest ratings from the world’s global manufacturers,” Hutcheson continued.

“We are honored to be recognized once again by our global customers as the industry’s top-ranked supplier of test equipment, and pleased that even in these challenging times we are able to maintain our commitment to supporting them,” said Yoshiaki Yoshida, president and CEO of Advantest Corporation. “We remain dedicated to expanding our test and measurement solutions throughout the value chain and hope to continue to earn the trust of the world’s leading chipmakers.” 

Since 1988 the VLSIresearch annual Customer Satisfaction Survey is the only publicly available survey tool for customers to provide feedback for suppliers of semiconductor equipment and subsystems.

Advantest, a global provider of test solutions for SoC, logic and memory semiconductors, has long been the industry’s only ATE provider to design and manufacture its own fully integrated suite of test-cell solutions – comprised of testers, handlers, device interfaces, and software – assuring the industry’s highest levels of integrity and compatibility.

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Advantest’s VOICE 2021 Developer Conference Goes Virtual on June 21-23

The Advantest VOICE 2021 Developer Conference will commence as a virtual event on June 21-23 under the unifying theme “Converging Technologies. Creating Possibilities.” With eight technology tracks and a line-up of thought-provoking speakers, Virtual VOICE will continue to offer insightful learning opportunities through its technical presentations, kiosk showcases and Partners’ Expo. Attendees can further enhance their Virtual VOICE experience by attending Workshop Day on June 24 with three sessions covering exascale high performance computing, edge computation, and 5G/mmWave.

 

Virtual VOICE 2021 Highlights 
The Virtual VOICE program features two dynamic keynote addresses, focusing on social robotics, technology design, and more:

Dr. Kate Darling
Expert in Social Robotics and MIT Media Lab Research Specialist
Leading social robotics expert Dr. Kate Darling explores the emotional connection between people and life-like machines, seeking to influence technology design and policy direction. Named one of the “Women in Robotics You Need to Know About” by Robohub, she currently conducts experimental studies on human-robot interaction at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab.

 

Fredi Lajvardi
Vice President of STEM Initiatives at Si Se Puede Foundation
Nationally recognized STEM educator Fredi Lajvardi will share his remarkable story of how he transformed a group of disadvantaged high school students into a national champion robotics team. Their story inspired the acclaimed documentary Underwater Dreams and was also adapted into the major motion picture, Spare Parts.

 

 

Virtual VOICE 2021 will also include a featured industry talk on semiconductor market trends and growth:

G. Dan Hutcheson
CEO and Chairman of VLSIresearch Inc.
Semiconductor industry thought leader Dan Hutcheson, will deliver a featured industry talk on 5G, IoT, AI, and other critical IC markets, including key trends and China’s rising role in the semiconductor market. In 2012, Hutcheson won SEMI’s Sales and Marketing Excellence Award for “empowering executives with tremendous strategic and tactical marketing value,” through his e-letter, The Chip Insider®.

 

Registration Opens in March
Online registration opens in March. Group discounts are available to attend Virtual VOICE 2021; email mktgcomms@advantest.com for details.

Additional information will be posted on the VOICE website at voice.advantest.com as it becomes available.

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Advantest’s myAdvantest Online Portal Provides 24/7 Access to Digital Products and Web-Based Services

Advantest has introduced a new online portal enabling customers to place orders and get instant delivery of Advantest’s cloud-based services and software products, making these items available on demand, anytime and anywhere.  Users can access the myAdvantest portal from any internet-connected device without having to install an app or software program.

One of the portal’s initially available services is interactive online training.  Dojo™, the Advantest Online Training System, is a cloud-based eLearning service.  In addition to offering self-paced, interactive multimedia courses, Dojo also offers unlimited access to a virtual SmarTest Software Playground environment for practicing and executing lab simulation tests as well as live interactive sessions with Advantest experts to discuss, practice and demonstrate SmarTest’s capabilities on real V93000 testers.  This online training leverages the most modern eLearning methodologies to supplement traditional classroom training sessions and offer the unmatched flexibility of web-based courses.

In addition, cloud-based test engineering is available for the first time with the innovative Test Engineering Cloud (TE-Cloud™), a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solution that is accessible exclusively through myAdvantest.  With this one-stop test engineering platform, customers can utilize a complete test development environment online including an integrated set of software tools for test program development, standard test IP libraries and a suite of self-help tools such as customer forums, documentation and training.  Moreover, online interaction with Advantest technical support and application engineers is available on demand to help with tasks such as remote debugging of test programs. TE-Cloud’s pre-installed software bundles are scalable and offered as flexible subscription options.  

The myAdvantest portal makes it easy for Advantest’s customers to educate their personnel and develop test programs while also reducing their investments of time and capital to bring new device designs to market resources.  This launch represents a new era in how Advantest serves their global customer base.

Your Digital Gateway for all Advantest Cloud Services: https://myAdvantest.com

 

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Finding the Optimum Test Solution for Next-Generation Automotive ICs

By Masashi Nagai, Senior Executive Director, Strategic Planning Group, Advantest Korea Co., Ltd.

Our world is changing, driven by technological advances in areas as varied as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, smart factories, green energy, energy storage, drones, security, and smart appliances. The automotive industry is leveraging the same technologies with the arrival of hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHV), all-electric vehicles (EV), autonomous driving, and connected cars, and it will be a key driver of technology moving forward.

Market data

Figure 1. LMC Automotive forecasts a return to growth after a falloff from global peak light vehicle sales in 2017. (Source: LMC Automotive, https://lmc-auto.com/news-and-insights/peak-auto/)

 

It’s true that worldwide light vehicle sales are off their 2017 high of 95.2 million units, according to LMC Automotive. However, the market appears to be entering a period of recovery, with growth resuming this year (Figure 1). Jonathon Poskitt, director of global sales forecasts at the firm, writes in a recent blog post that he expects the market to reach new record highs in the first half of this decade, as vehicle ownership becomes more affordable in markets that have not reached maturity and as the demand for mobility grows.1

Figure 2. Omdia (formerly IHS Markit) predicted a CAGR greater than 35% for hybrid-electric and electric-vehicle powertrain module unit shipments from 2018 through 2024. (Source – Omdia, Power Semiconductors in Automotive, May 2019. Results are not an endorsement of Advantest Corporation. Any reliance on these results is at the third-party’s own risk.)

The research firm Omdia (formerly IHS Markit) forecasts significant growth for electric vehicles. The firm in 2019 predicted a CAGR greater than 35% for hybrid-electric and electric-vehicle powertrain module unit shipments from 2018 through 2024 (Figure 2).2

Automotive paradigm shift

Automotive technology is undergoing a paradigm shift. Sensors and high-end computing technologies began enabling driver-assistance capabilities in 2015. This year is seeing increasing use of sensor fusion. By 2030, full driverless functionality will appear with passengers embedded in a safety cocoon. 

Semiconductor technology has a key role to play in driving this shift. Advanced vehicles require semiconductor and electronic components in various automotive application areas, including infotainment (navigation, audio, networking), drivetrain (engine and transmission control), body and comfort (air-conditioning, lighting, seat, door/window, and mirror/wiper control), and chassis and safety (antilock braking systems, electronic power steering, airbag control, and advanced driver assistance systems).

In addition, electric and hybrid electric vehicles require semiconductors for motor-drive applications as well as battery monitoring and charging and power management. And modern cars require pressure, acceleration, magnetic, yaw-rate, gas, and other precision sensors.

The vehicle represents only the tip of the iceberg regarding the semiconductors that will populate the entire automotive ecosystem. Beyond the car itself, the next generation of automotive technologies will have a role to play in cost management and product planning in the factory and throughout the supply chain, for example.

Furthermore, the connected car offers many opportunities for semiconductor technology, with support for V2X and IoT connectivity, media integration, and integration with smartphones and wearables. Strong cybersecurity will be necessary to prevent malicious incursions. In addition to semiconductors within the vehicle, connected car technology will have implications for the semiconductors deployed in infrastructure such as datacenters and 5G networks, and demand for semiconductors to support infrastructure for cloud computing is expected to increase.

Test systems

Advantest offers SoC and memory testers and handlers to test the semiconductor devices that implement these advanced technologies, including the V93000 and T2000 for SoC test. The V93000 offers several test modules, including the FVI16 floating power VI source for testing power and analog ICs and the Wave Scale RF and mmWave card for 5G and future mmWave test. The V93000 Wave Scale Millimeter solution has the high multi-site parallelism and versatility needed for multi-band millimeter-wave (mmWave) frequencies. The operational range extends from 24 GHz to 44 GHz and FROM 57 GHz to 72 GHz. Advantest can also support over-the-air (OTA) test solutions including antenna-in-package (AiP) test and device test over 72 GHz, such as car radar.

The T2000 Series includes two application-specific testers for SoC test: the T2000 IPS (Integrated Power device test Solution), for mixed-signal devices and analog power ICs, and the T2000 ISS (CMOS Image Sensor test Solution), for CMOS camera and time-of-flight (ToF) sensors. For the T2000 IPS, the company offers several test modules, including the SHV2KV super-high-voltage arbitrary waveform generator/digitizer, the MMXHE multifunction mixed high voltage card, and the MFHPE multifunction floating high power card.

For memory ICs, Advantest offers the V93000 High-Speed Memory (HSM) system, the T5833 system for performing both wafer sort and final test of DRAM and NAND flash memory devices, the T5503HS system for double-data-rate SDRAMs and other next-generation memory chips, and the T5511 Memory Test System offering multifunctionality and industry’s top test speed of 8 Gb/s.

These systems can be applied to several types of test in automotive and related applications areas, as described below.

High-voltage test

As semiconductors become more pervasive in automotive applications, it will become important to ensure continuous safety and security—with zero failures. For example, with the shift to electric vehicles, the number of high-voltage components will increase, and achieving zero failures will become an issue.

Automotive applications for high-voltage parts include the HEV, PHV, and EV powertrain, requiring voltages to 700 V and incorporating silicon processes such as high-voltage BCD. (BCD is an integrated silicon-gate technology combining bipolar linear, CMOS logic, and DMOS power parts.) Alternator and related powertrain and efficient-system-drive (ESD) applications will operate from 200 V to 300 V and may incorporate silicon-on-insulator (SOI) BCD processes. And finally, safety/body applications such as anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and airbag control may incorporate BCD processes and operate at 80 V to 150 V. To test these high-voltage semiconductors, Advantest offers T2000 IPS test modules, including the SHV2KV super high-voltage (2,000-V, 20-mA) arbitrary-waveform generator (AWG)/digitizer (DGT) with two ports per card.3

Operating-temperature test

Figure 3. A conventional temperature-test method based on a chamber requires a long time to apply the appropriate temperature and offers limited accuracy (left). An alternative dual-fluid temperature application method enables temperature to be switched in a short time, and temperature accuracy is ±1°C (right).

In addition to high-voltage test, achieving zero failure for automotive SoCs and memory ICs will require accurate and quick actual-use temperature and operation test. The conventional temperature-test method based on a chamber requires a long time to apply the appropriate temperature, and accuracy is limited to ±3°C or ±5°C. Alternative Advantest solutions are a combination of a conductive heater and chamber solution on the M4841 and dual-fluid active thermal control (Figure 3) on the M4872. With the handler and device interface (DI) solution, Advantest can provide a test-cell automotive solution to its customers.

Battery-monitoring test

With the shift to HEV/PHV/EV, the market for battery-monitoring ICs will expand to maximize the use of battery capacity. Consequently, the demand for high-precision test of battery-monitoring ICs will increase. For the T2000 IPS system, Advantest offers two modules to test high-voltage and high-power devices used in the powertrains of electric vehicles. The enhanced MMXHE (multifunction mixed high voltage) and MFHPE (multifunction floating high power) modules enable massively parallel, high-performance testing by leveraging Advantest’s multifunctional pin design. The former provides ±300-V, 6-A pulsed outputs with 36 ports per card; the latter provides 120-V, 24-mA outputs with 64 ports per card. For the V93000 platform, Advantest offers the FVI16 floating power VI source for testing power and analog ICs. It supplies 250 W of high-pulse power and up to 40 W of DC power.

Testing precision sensors

Precision sensors are key components for automated driving applications. These sensors include CMOS image sensor chips and time-of-flight (ToF) sensors as well as millimeter-wave radar devices. The T2000 ISS provides the necessary features to test these devices, including control signals, and illuminator to provide an input light source to the device under test, serial and parallel capture of the output of the device under test, and the image processing necessary to derive the test result.

Figure 4. Accelerometers include capacitor types (left), piezo-resistor types (center), and thermal types (right).

Precision automotive sensors also include accelerometers, including capacitor types, which detect acceleration by finding differences in stray capacitance; piezo-resistor types, which detect acceleration by finding differences in piezo-resistance values; and thermal types, which detect acceleration by finding differences in a temperature profile (Figure 4). 

Figure 5. The HA7200 physical stimulus unit can precisely control temperature and pressure for testing automotive sensors.

 

 

Figure 6. The EVA100 evolutionary value-added measurement system is available in an “E Model” for engineering (left) and a “P Model” for production.

For automotive test, Advantest offers the HA7200 physical stimulus unit (Figure 5), which can precisely control temperature and pressure for testing automotive sensors. The HA7200 can be coupled with a handler and the EVA100 evolutionary value-added measurement system (Figure 6) to create a high-productivity test cell. The EVA100 is available in an “E Model” for engineering and a “P Model” for production.

Conclusion

In summary, Advantest offers optimal testers and handlers for next-generation automotive ICs, including SoC and memory. These solutions are available now to help your drive for perfection for next-generation automotive ICs.

 

REFERENCES

  1. Poskitt, Jonathon, “Peak auto?” LMC Automotive, January 30, 2020.
  2. Eden, Richard, and Anderson, Kevin, Power Semiconductors in Automotive Report-2019, IHS Markit, May 16, 2019.
  3. Koo, Jerry, “Next-Generation Vehicles Pose Automotive Semiconductor Test Challenges,” GO SEMI & BEYOND, March 20, 2019. 
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