Test of ICs, sensors, and passive components gets boost

Our October print edition includes a feature article on modular systems for IC test, and our July issue included a special report on bench and modular instruments for semiconductor test applications. Since those articles have gone to print, companies have introduced additional modular and bench instruments and options related to the test of semiconductors, sensors, and passive components. And makers of turnkey semiconductor test systems have been busy as well.

On the modular instrument front, Keysight Technologies announced the M937xA series of one-slot PXI vector network analyzers that cover 300 kHz up to 26.5 GHz. The new analyzers can perform fast, accurate measurements and reduce the cost-of-test by enabling simultaneous characterization of many components such as power amplifiers using a single PXI chassis. The company also debuted a new PXI Reference Solution for RF power-amplifier (PA) characterization and test. The Reference Solution—which performs S-parameter, harmonic distortion, power, and demodulation measurements—enables rapid, full characterization of next-generation power-amplifier modules, such as a power amplifier-duplexer (PAD). Click here for more.

Big iron ATE

Traditional makers semiconductor ATE are continuing to introduce new products. Teradyne at SEMICON West in July, for example, highlighted its UltraWave24, the UltraDSP1, and the latest version of the Enhanced Signal Analyzer (ESA) Toolkit, which enhance the UltraFLEX platform's performance while reducing program development time, shortening time-to-market, and driving down the cost-of-test.

To meet the emerging needs of the latest application and baseband processors for mobile devices, new versions of UltraFLEX digital and DC options, including the UltraPin1600+, the UVS256+ and the HexVS+, provide greater pattern memory depth, data rates and accuracy to improve the test quality and yield of ICs for mobile applications.

Teradyne also introduced the Magnum V, the next generation memory test solution in the Nextest Magnum product line designed for massively parallel memory test in the flash, DRAM, and multi chip package (MCP) marketplace.

Also at SEMICON West, Advantest (as previously reported) demonstrated that it is supporting both its T2000 and V93000 test platforms. For the latter, the company introduced the PVI8 floating power source, and for the T2000, it introduced a 1.6-Gb/s digital module and an enhanced device power supply. Click here for  more.

Tackling DDR4 memory

In addition to introducing modular instruments, Keysight has also been addressing test issues related to DDR4 memory. The company introduced a high data-rate state-mode logic analyzer (up to 4 Gb/s) for validating simultaneous read and write DDR4 traffic across all byte lanes captured from a DDR4 DIMM operating at data rates of more than 2.5 Gb/s.

The Keysight U4154B logic analysis system merges three modules to help memory design engineers accelerate turn-on and debugging of DDR2/3/4 and LPDDR2/3/4 memory systems. The system provides reliable data capture, precise triggering and a portfolio of validation and performance tools. Click here for more.

The company also introduced DDR4 ball-grid array (BGA) probe interposer solutions for Infiniium Series oscilloscopes. Engineers can use the probes and oscilloscopes for debugging and characterizing DDR4 memory designs and testing device compliance with the JEDEC DDR4 standard. Click here for more.

Tektronix, too, has been addressing memory test. The company has announced a complete PHY layer and conformance test solution for JEDEC LPDDR4, the next generation of mobile memory technology. Slated for adoption starting in 2015, LPDDR4 builds on the current generation of LPDDR3 technology and will deliver improved data rates up to 4.26 Gb/s and use an ultra-low voltage core to reduce power consumption by approximately 35% to enhance performance in mobile devices like smartphones, wearables, and tablets. Click here for more.

Sensor handling

In September, Multitest announced its sensor calibration and test equipment for magnetic sensors using Helmholtz coils provide a highly integrated and compact solution for volume test. The setup combines the advantages of Multitest’s modular concept for sensor test equipment with the benefits of a compact and robust design. This way low investment cost and highest ease-of-use on the test floor are ensured.

The Multitest equipment for magnetic sensor has the application specific stimulus elements integrated in the contact unit holder (CUH). The CUH is part of the conversion kit. So a standard base handler can be deployed. Consequently, the full range for ambient/hot/cold temperature test supported by the handler is available for the magnetic sensor applications.

To ensure best yield and most reliable results the design uses only non-ferromagnetic materials around the socket. For highly sensitive applications an option is available that extends this non-ferromagnetic area further.

Andy Ludwig, product manager, explained in a press release, “Our solutions are well-accepted, especially by automotive customers, who need a reliable, full tri-temp test solution for up to 175°C. Many of today’s state-of-the-art car convenience and control features are based on magnetic sensors.”

Passive component test

Vendors have been addressing test of passive components as well. Chroma Systems Solutions, for example, announced the addition of the Chroma 11050 HF LCR Meter precision test instrument designed to accurately measure and evaluate passive components at high speeds. Its measurement capabilities cover the primary and secondary parameters required for testing the inductance, capacitance, resistance, quality factor, and loss factor of passive components. Click here for more.

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