How are Semiconductor Testing Strategies Changing?

The rapid evolution in the designs and functionalities of semiconductor chips is necessitating changes in the testing approach.

FREMONT, CA: There is a rising demand for increased reliability of semiconductor chips across many industries today. Replacing chips after they have been put to use is becoming challenging owing to the sophisticated designs. Thus, chip providers are expected to ensure high reliability. Improving the testing approach is essential for the semiconductor industry in order to meet customer expectations. This entails changes in the way chip inspection is approached. Some of the testing strategies that are enabling semiconductor companies to improve chip reliability are discussed below. 

• Creating a System for Pattern Discovery

A system that can identify error patterns in chip design and prevent them from repeating in subsequent design cycles is highly beneficial. With machine learning and relevant sources of data, it is possible to create such a system. Having access to reliable insights about chip irregularities that happened in the past enables chip producers to determine product reliability quickly. 

• Comprehensive Coverage with Analytics-Backed Monitoring

On-chip monitoring capabilities are crucial for a highly nuanced detection of defects. The design of chips can be effectively analyzed and inspected when there exists a mechanism to profile chips’ performance and convey it to an analytics platform. Once data regarding performance is analyzed in real-time, it becomes easy to investigate all the scenarios across a chip. Thus, data analytics is making a significant contribution to semiconductor chip testing.

• Reducing Dependence on Pre-Configured Scenarios

The approach to semiconductor chip testing conventionally involved a set of pre-configured settings against which new chips were inspected. This left a lot of gaps to be covered since many of the defects did not comply with these criteria. Today, semiconductor testing can leverage machine learning to optimize the testing environment and cover all possible defects.

As the concerns surrounding the reliability of semiconductor chips expand and design criteria diversify, the testing approach needs to be dynamic. By making the right moves, chip providers can seamlessly transform testing capabilities.

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