Test is not a passing fad

Anaheim, CA. Test is not a passing fad—it's a driver of the world economy, according to Gordon Roberts, general chair of the International Test Conference, which convened here today. His opening remarks were followed by a keynote presentation from Kwang-Hyun Kim, executive vice-president at Samsung Electronics, who provided an overview of the types of devices that may need to be tested in the future.

Kim traced the evolution of the cell phone from the Motorola DynaTAC through the Galaxy S, introduced in 2010. He noted that he was delivering his remarks on the day when Apple was expected to announce new iPhones. We learned after Kim's address that the new iPhones turned out to be “wonderfully mundane.”

Mundane or not, Kim assured the ITC audience that Samsung's next phone, based on the ARM architecture, will offer PC-level performance on battery power for a full day. He commented that smartphone sales outpaced PC sales in 2010 and that tablet sales will eclipse PC sales in 2015.

Kim suggested that progress will continue on a three-pronged basis, with triangular apexes based on manufacturing, design, and processing. He noted that classical scaling hit a barrier below 130 nm. At that point, he said, scaling innovation gave way to material innovation—with FinFETS replacing planar transistors.

Beyond FinFETs, Kim suggested, there are several future device innovation candidates: extension of the Si channel, with better electrostatics performance; alternatives for the Si channel offering higher mobility; CNT/graphene; III-V/Ge, nanowire; and tunneling FET technologies. Graphene, he said, offers higher mobility tunneling, but there is no decision yet for candidates after FinFET.

He went on to discuss failure analysis—electrical failure analysis, he said, involves fault detection and isolation by diagnostic software; physical failure analysis finds root cause based on silicon fault visualization, enabled by layout-aware and pattern-aware scan diagnosis.

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