“The maturity of new technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence, and new energy drives various industries to accelerate the implementation of digital transformation, thus continuing to promote the steady growth of the global semiconductor industry. According to the IC Insights Semiconductor Industry Report, total global semiconductor sales are expected to grow another 11% in 2022 to a new record of $680.6 billion. The continued prosperity of the semiconductor industry has also increased the market size of semiconductor automatic test equipment (ATE), which is expected to reach US$7.2 billion in 2028.
The maturity of new technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence, and new energy drives various industries to accelerate the implementation of digital transformation, thus continuing to promote the steady growth of the global semiconductor industry. According to the IC Insights Semiconductor Industry Report, total global semiconductor sales are expected to grow another 11% in 2022 to a new record of $680.6 billion. The continued prosperity of the semiconductor industry has also increased the market size of semiconductor automatic test equipment (ATE), which is expected to reach US$7.2 billion in 2028.
As a key part of the semiconductor industry, ATE runs through the entire process of semiconductor design, manufacturing and packaging, and is critical to monitoring product yield and judging product quality. However, in today’s ever-changing IC industry, ATE testing also faces new challenges. “The chip has entered the 3nm era, and more and more functions are carried on a chip, and the chip process is becoming more and more complex, which not only means that the complexity of the test is doubled, but also makes the yield rate of the chip more dependent on the advanced test. Function. How to quickly and efficiently complete the development of a new generation of ATE solutions to meet the market’s demand for mass shipments and semiconductor testing of various types has become a new problem that the industry needs to solve.” ADI China Industrial Marketing Director Cai Zhenyu express. As the world’s leading high-performance semiconductor company that has been deeply involved in the semiconductor field for decades, ADI has more than 20 years of experience in the ATE industry, and has deep technical accumulation, and its various solutions have been widely welcomed by the industry.
The semiconductor industry chain “connects the previous and the next” automated test equipment is critical
In the semiconductor industry chain, the life cycle of a chip begins with the analysis of market demand, followed by the definition, design and manufacture of the product. After the package is completed, it is delivered to the end consumer, which requires multiple tests throughout the process. “The ATE test belongs to the manufacturing process and is a crucial part of the process from R&D to mass production. The higher-end and more complex chips are more reliant on testing, and the various advanced functions of test equipment are critical to 5G and IoT. It is becoming more and more important for semiconductor manufacturers such as cloud computing.” Cai Zhenyu emphasized.
According to the application of semiconductor test system, the main subdivision areas of ATE applications are memory, SoC, analog, digital, discrete devices and RF testers, etc. No matter which application, ATE usually needs to complete the functional test of the chip, DC parameter test and The principle of AC function test and other work is to apply an input signal to the chip, collect the output signal of the tested chip and compare it with the expected value, judge the effectiveness of the function and performance of the chip under different working conditions, and ensure the corresponding chip manufacturing. , the products meet customer design, manufacturing requirements and market demand.
Because the quality of the test scheme directly affects the yield and test cost. Some data show that the impact of chip defect-related failures on costs ranges from tens of dollars at the IC level, to hundreds of dollars at the module level, and even thousands of dollars at the application level. “Currently, the chip development cycle is shortened, and the success rate of tape-out is very high. Any failure is unbearable for enterprises. Therefore, sufficient verification and testing are required in the chip design and development process.” Cai Zhenyu pointed out.
Start from several key test dimensions to create a stable and efficient ATE product solution
With the continuous development of Moore’s Law and the increasing complexity of processes and applications, the semiconductor industry needs to pay more attention to “testing first” if it wants to make good products. The semiconductor process is still evolving, the sophistication of the manufacturing process and the complexity of the internal structure of the chip continue to improve, more and more functions are carried on a chip, the integration of transistors on the chip is getting higher and higher, and the speed of product iteration is also increasing. Fast, and even many high-complexity chips such as AI, GPU, and AP require year-by-year iterations, which makes the complexity of testing and verification increase sharply, and the testing time and cost also increase accordingly.
“The key to the competition in the semiconductor testing machine market lies in the breadth of testing, testing accuracy, testing speed, and the ductility of the testing machine. The wider the testing coverage of the testing machine, the more items that can be tested, the more favored by customers.” Cai Zhenyu pointed out. Important indicators of test accuracy include the accuracy of parameters such as test current, voltage, capacitance, and time. Advanced equipment can generally achieve picoamp (pA) level accuracy in current measurement and microvolt (μV) in voltage measurement. The accuracy of the order of magnitude can reach an accuracy of the order of 0.01 picofarads (pF) in capacitance measurement, and hundreds of picoseconds (pS) in time measurement. The ductility of the testing machine is mainly reflected in the ability to flexibly increase the testing functions, channels and number of stations as needed.
Faced with these challenges, test equipment developers are in urgent need of stable ATE solutions, and also expect high-quality test coverage, which can support more channels and test as many units as possible per unit time. ADI has launched ATE ASSP (Specialized Standard Product), covering advanced integrated pin electronics (PE), device power supply (DPS) and parameter measurement unit (PMU) and other products, with the advantages of low power consumption and high integration Further help customers improve the performance of ATE machines and reduce their costs.
Pin electronics, device power and parametric measurement unit product function and performance positioning
“For general ATE applications, the signal chain is similar, and we have integrated some functions to reduce the design difficulty of customers, which is one of the main reasons for ADI to do ASSP. In addition, ATE testing needs to support multi-channel, Multi-channel parallel testing increases the complexity of the test, and requires better performance chips to meet the needs of customer test machines.” Cai Zhenyu explained ADI’s consideration of ASSP solutions in the ATE field, “ADI’s ASSP integrates many functions into one In the chip, it can further help customers reduce the cost of test equipment and increase the measurement density. Compared with the discrete device solution, the multi-mode package we use can also further help customers reduce cost and power consumption.”
Basic block diagram of the signal chain for ATE digital measurements
Among them, PE is used to generate a signal to stimulate the object to be tested, so as to obtain the feedback of the object to be tested, so the PE chip requires higher precision. At the same time, integration is also a key requirement for the solution, such as integrated pin electronics/pin drivers to provide key test application solutions in a single package, including digital drive and compare functions, active loads and per-pin parametric measurement units, these The unit is controlled via a level setting DAC. “For the domestic ATE market application, ADATE318 and ADATE320 are currently widely used, with data rates ranging from 600MHz to 1.6GHz. Among them, ADATE318 is more suitable for digital chips, memory, mixed-signal testing, etc. ADATE320 The data rate will be higher, It is more suitable for high-speed chip testing.” Cai Zhenyu added.
ADATE3xx block diagram and parameters
For the measurement needs of higher-speed chips, the ADATE334 provides key test applications in a dual-channel single-package. A dedicated 16-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with on-chip calibration registers provides all the DC levels required for device operation, capable of operating at high Supports up to 2.3GHz~4.6Gbps with precision and low power consumption. “In the future, ADI’s PE chips will continue to develop in two directions, that is, higher-speed product development, and more channel-density integrated products.” Cai Zhenyu described the key evolution roadmap of ADI PE.
PMU and DPS products are used to provide flexible voltage and current source / measure functions to meet the needs of a variety of cost-sensitive test applications. Among them, the role of the PMU is to drive current into the device to measure the voltage or add a voltage to the device to measure the generated current. Its integration, measurement accuracy, and number of channels are several important dimensions that are usually evaluated. ADI’s AD5522 is a high-performance, highly integrated parametric measurement unit that includes four independent channels. Each single-pin parametric measurement unit (PPMU) channel includes five 16-bit voltage output DACs that set programmable input levels for the drive voltage input, clamp input, and comparator input (high and low).
AD5522 device block diagram
DPS is used to provide programmable power supply for the DUT, usually high current and high voltage, such as high-performance, high-integration device power supply AD5560 provides programmable drive voltage and measurement range. The product includes the required DAC levels to set the programmable inputs of the driver amplifier, as well as clamp and comparator circuits, and on-chip offset and gain correction for the DAC function.
AD5560 Device Block Diagram
High-power DPS/SMU product solution (±50V, 5A; supports 4-quadrant V/I)
However, it is often difficult for a single solution with deterministic performance to meet diverse market needs. The scalability of product solution design is very important. For example, as more and more power or power supply chip testing requirements are much higher than the 25V provided by AD5560 In the range of voltage and 1.2A current, customers can cascade multiple AD5560s through GaN mode to obtain larger output current. In addition, the ADI China application development team has also developed a 250W (±50V, 5A) high-power reference design based on the AD5522, which well meets the needs of high-power applications. “The expansion capability of our solution is very popular with customers.” Cai Zhenyu revealed.
Local ATE development faces opportunities for acceleration, ADI China makes efforts to help customers grow
China’s semiconductor industry is ushering in a new round of development opportunities, and the market demand for semiconductors is very strong, thus driving a wave of investment from design to semiconductor manufacturing, packaging and testing. In the current domestic semiconductor industry chain front-end manufacturing and design links, the domestic ATE demand will be significantly improved, and the rich industry chain customers will also contribute to the steady rise of domestic ATE demand. Market research firm Gartner predicts that China’s chip testing service market will reach 55 billion yuan by 2025.
At present, domestic test equipment manufacturers have occupied a place in test machines in specific fields such as power devices and analog circuits, and are making efforts to test machine products with faster speed and higher complexity. I believe that in the near future, there will be more and more More and more domestic test machines appear on the chip test line. “There have been some breakthroughs in analog test equipment in China. In the face of the ever-expanding Chinese semiconductor ATE market, ADI is willing to work closely with local ATE manufacturers to respond to the innovative needs of the domestic semiconductor market and jointly promote ATE with local decision-making and Chinese speed. The prosperity and development of the industry.” Cai Zhenyu looked forward.
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