Elevate Semiconductor: The Future of Semiconductor Testing Technology

David Kenyon, President and CEO; Simon Leigh, VP of Engineering, Elevate SemiconductorDavid Kenyon, President and CEO; Simon Leigh, VP of Engineering
One of the greatest milestones in computing history was the advent of Harvard Mark I, an early protocomputer built at Harvard University to perform implosion calculations during World War II. It was a complex electromechanical machine comprising over 750,000 separate components, weighing almost five tons and requiring close to six seconds to add two numbers.

Fast forward to the 21st century; computers have changed drastically. They are much smaller, faster, and don’t weigh in tons. In fact, computers today are small enough to fit in the glove compartment while still delivering tremendous computing power. This paradigm shift can be attributed to the semiconductor revolution, which enabled electronics manufacturers to switch from mega-sized components to extremely small, nanometersized integrated circuits (ICs). Since then, manufacturers have been continuously shrinking the size of these ICs, cramming in more transistors, resistors, and capacitors per square nanometer to enhance their processing speed.

However, today, another drastic change is underway. The inception of 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, big data, and other emerging technologies are driving the demand for even smaller ICs with greater processing capabilities. But, the challenge right now lies with the current semiconductor testing methodologies, which are neither sufficient to measure and test the increasingly sophisticated ICs under shorter development schedules nor maintain the highest quality of standards in end products. What modern semiconductor manufacturers need are faster, more accurate, and automated testing solutions that are able to facilitate the development and distribution of next-generation ICs at the quickest time-to-market— and making this possible is ElevATE Semiconductor.

A leading designer/ manufacturer of innovative, low-power, high-density ICs for next-generation automated test equipment (ATE) and other semiconductor testing systems, ElevATE was founded in 2012 by a group of ATE veterans. Since then, it has successfully amassed a knowledge and skill base that is unparalleled in the industry. Unlike most semiconductor solution providers in the market that have ATE as a small part of their diverse portfolio, ElevATE exclusively focuses on designing and developing industry-leading ICs for ATE systems that specifically cater to today’s heightened semiconductor testing requirements. “ATE systems powered by our ICs have the capability to identify defects in processing and performance or variation across several parameters (power, speed, voltage, etc.),” says David Kenyon, president and CEO at ElevATE Semiconductor.ElevATE’s test ICs are also accurate enough to characterize the latest high-speed server processors.
Memory modules, and artificial intelligence (AI) FPGAs used in 5G, AI, cloud computing, big data, and data center applications.This makes it possible for manufacturers to ensure the required component quality and performance.

Especially when it comes to testing next-gen semiconductor components, ElevATE is enabling clients to break free of the constraints of conventional testing, which often requires clients to test a few segments of the chip at a time. While most legacy testing solutions are unable to supply the required power, density, or voltage needed for the streamlined testing of today’s evolving range of modern ICs, ElevATE’s IC solutions— comprising higher channel density and lower power dissipation—are designed to facilitate simultaneous and faster testing even for chips with relatively greater number of components. As a result, ElevATE’s clients are able to achieve high levels of precision, reliability, speed, and cost-effectiveness in their semiconductor testing operations.

  • We house some of the brightest designers in the market, who collectively possess hundreds of years of expertise in semiconductor testing

Taking Automated Testing to the Next Level

ElevATE offers its impressive IC solutions for ATE and semiconductor testing through a range of specialized products, each customizable to the unique semiconductor testing requirements of its clients. For instance, one of the company’s IC offerings— the low power, high density integrated pin electronics test systems—is built with complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS), enabling users to significantly reduce power consumption and achieve enhanced system reliability. Because of its capacities, the test system proves to be quite exceptional in the electronics manufacturing realm.

Equally impressive are ElevATE’s device power supply (DPS) systems—including the device under test (DUT) power supply—that come with analog circuitry inside a single chip and offer digital interface, control, and I/O for testers. Since an entire tester channel is integrated within one chip, the clients can leverage a single IC to test multiple products, thus reducing the size of test equipment while increasing accuracy. “Together with that, we offer integrated parametric measurement units and virtual instruments (PMU/VI) with best-in-class density (as high as eight channels per chip) and voltage measurement up to 60 volts, which can prove exceptionally relevant when facilitating precise voltage and current in the products,” mentions Simon Leigh, VP of engineering at ElevATE.

ElevATE is also known for its highly integrated dual-channel wide voltage system-on-a-chip (SoC) pin electronics test systems, which can deliver extremely precise measurements for high voltage products.
The systems incorporate every analog function along with some digital support functionality on a per-channel basis for ATEs.

Streamlined Development with Industry-Leading Talent

Driven by ElevATE’s versatile testing solutions, many semiconductor manufacturers in the industry are witnessing significant improvements in their development cycles. A case in point is a client that was seeking to modify the specification of its power supply unit to deliver a higher range of current and power than what was available in the market. Since they could not leverage the standard, off-the-shelf products to test their discrete components, they turned to ElevATE. It did not take long for ElevATE to deliver the customized testing equipment they needed. As a result, rather than having to prolong their development cycle, the client was able to roll out their product at a significantly lower cost compared to the alternative of conducting in-house testing.

This is but one of the many success stories that ElevATE has penned over the years. According to Kenyon, this streak of success is not just the result of the company’s cutting-edge IC solutions for ATE and semiconductor testing. “We house some of the brightest designers in the market, who collectively possess hundreds of years of expertise in semiconductor testing,” he adds. “Being in a niche company like ours, they get to become exceptionally specialized in what they do rather than being switched to a different role, a practice that is common in organizations that have semiconductor testing only as a small part of their portfolio.”

The Epitome of Excellence

Any client seeking ElevATE’s help is well aware of the fact that the company goes above and beyond in solving the client’s challenges from the core rather than just addressing the specific problems. ElevATE’s designers and engineers even conduct an additional diagnosis to detect any other shortcomings in the clients’ testing environment and suggest necessary changes. “Besides, our designers and engineers are single-mindedly specialized in semiconductor testing, powering their ability to deliver effective semiconductor testing support that caters precisely to the client’s most unique ATE requirements,” says Kenyon. This client-specific service offering is only bound to get better in the coming months, with ElevATE aiming to take its testing support capabilities to the next level. In fact, Leigh is already assembling a crack engineering team of highly functional semiconductor testing experts specializing in solving client problems at the test sites in the shortest possible time.

Moving ahead, ElevATE is focused on broadening its internal capabilities and expanding its workforce with product engineers, application engineers, and other technical talent. Alongside, the company is planning to set up a new office is Austin, TX, and extend its footprint across the U.S. while also enhancing its presence in Asia. “While we continue on our streak of innovation, we will ensure that our clients have access to the latest ATE capabilities and help them take the helm of the semiconductor industry,” concludes Kenyon.
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Elevate Semiconductor

Elevate Semiconductor

San Diego, CA

David Kenyon, President and CEO; Simon Leigh, VP of Engineering

ElevATE is a leading supplier of innovative, low-power, high-density ICs for the design of next-generation Automated Test Equipment (ATE). With a proven track record of consistently delivering the highest density, lowest power solutions available, systems designed around ElevATE products have a competitive advantage in the ATE market space and are able to adapt successfully to emerging trends and challenges while providing ever-increasing end user value. ElevATE offers a wide variety of IC solutions for the ATE market with variable levels of integration so that we can serve the unique requirements of multiple end user segments such as System on a Chip (SOC) Test, Memory Test, Test During Burn-in (TDBI), In-Circuit Test (ICT) and beyond.

"Our designers and engineers are single-mindedly specialized in semiconductor testing, powering their ability to deliver effective semiconductor testing support that caters precisely to the client’s most unique ATE requirements"

- David Kenyon, President and CEO; Simon Leigh, VP of Engineering