Chandran Nair, CEO Delivering Paradigm Shifting Testing and Handling Solutions
As the semiconductor industry evolves, devices are becoming more complex faster, more reliable, and more powerful. As device complexity increases, the effectiveness of traditional test methods decreases resulting in reduced test coverage. Overcoming is prohibitively expensive using conventional test methods. Similarly, with the rapid evolution of technology nodes to go as small as 4nm and less, traditional testing methods can potentially leave over 200 million transistors on a device untested.
To this end, with high reliability and safety demands, System Level Test (SLT) has become paramount in the test flow for customers. In parallel with these developments, AEM, a semiconductor test and handling solutions company, is at the forefront of testing innovation, working with high-performance computing companies worldwide for over 25 years and deploying thousands of SLT systems on the manufacturing floor. Today, AEM has over 40,000 SLT sites in production. Utilizing an enhanced massively parallel SLT platform, customers can test high-end semiconductor devices in the computing, automotive, and mobile application markets among others, and achieve the requisite test coverage in an economical manner.
As a global leader in test innovation, AEM offers a full-stack technology of customized and integrated test cell solutions. The company’s test innovation capabilities accelerate and strengthen the test process, with agility to scale from lab to factory. Moreover, its deep expertise in the deployment of SLT systems for mass volume production is a testament to its leading-edge capabilities, particularly since their technology blocks can address burn-in and final test into their massively parallel architectures. “One of our key differentiators is the ability to deploy SLT to conduct tests in high volume, and in massively parallel architectures,” states Chandran Nair, CEO at AEM.
A key concern faced by semiconductor manufacturers is the increasing transistor density, which makes semiconductor chips susceptible to temperature related defects while testing. To prevent this issue, AEM has engineered the Active Thermal Control (ATC) system where it concurrently tests millions of high-end chips coming out of the production line.
Furthermore, AEM offers tremendous performance in active thermal control, which is required for almost all heterogeneous packages and advanced chips. Despite its best-in-class capabilities in SLT over the last five years, AEM has continued to build up its R&D capabilities and has acquired technology to reduce reliance on “Big Iron” functional testers, which have high capital costs, as well as power and floor space requirements.
Beyond that, the ATC system can also conduct burn-in testing in a largely parallel architecture, changing the current paradigm of burn-in testing in ovens through conductive technology to proactively detect failures. This solution enables a higher throughput on the test systems and processes, and also minimizes the overall increasing cost of tests for advanced package devices, high performance computing devices, and application processors.
Additionally, AEM provides its customers with a system-level view of the test by gathering raw data from the process. This enables customers to analyze the data and gain deep insights into the quality and reliability of the devices in order to make decisions that positively impact the testing process.
One of our key differentiators is the ability to deploy SLT to conduct tests in high volume, and massively parallel architectures
Further exemplifying the company’s core competencies, Nair mentioned an instance wherein AEM collaborated with UTAC Holdings (UTAC), a global semiconductor test and assembly services provider, to develop a cost-effective and next-generation test system solution for CMOS image sensors. He highlighted that the rapidly growing demand for advanced image sensors in applications such as security, automotive safety, autonomous vehicles, and industrial ap plication will drive CMOS image sensor products to grow significantly in future.
In 2021, AEM successfully delivered a fully integrated CMOS Image Sensor Test Cell to UTAC, complete with an illuminator, tester, and handler. Furthermore, AEM also has an Operations Excellence Program which works with various departments within the organization to ensure the safety and reliability of the products before they are shipped to customers.
With customer intimacy at its core, AEM builds strong partnerships with its customers through a global network, tailoring solutions and delivering services that meet their needs. As pioneers of SLT, AEM will continue to provide asynchronous, modular, highly-parallel test cell solutions to run SLT, final test, or burn-in all-in-one system in the future.