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Managing IC Qualification – A Quick Guide

March 31, 2018, anysilicon

Many IC designers pay little attention to IC qualification and consequently pay high price and delays before the chip reaches to high volume. The mindset of experienced IC designers is considering IC quality (and production test) through all phases of the IC design process. Today, more than ever, re-tapeout is costly and can be very painful for startup fabless companies.

 

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IC quality level is determined by the target market: consumer, space, automotive etc. Each market has its own quality requirements. It’s advised to check the required quality level by conducting customer interviews. Some customers will have stringent quality requirements therefore you will have to conduct longer and more comprehensive qualification tests.

 

We recommend performing a mini qualification tests with your MPW prototypes (e.g. before full maskset tapeout) to ensure the major qualification tests are successful. You can read about it here: How to bulletproof your ASIC design?

 

Some qualification tests are related to verifying the ASIC design functionality, the very common tests are:

 

 

Some qualification tests are related to quality and reliability tests. Some of the common stress tests are:

 

 

JEDEC has a few documents describing the different tests. Below please find our brief description of each test.

 

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ESD Test

ESD test is exposing ICs’ IO pins to transient high voltage to ensure ESD protection.

  • HBM (Human Body Model): 2KV
  • CDM (Charge Device Model): 0.5KV
  • MM (Machine Model): 0.2KV

 

Latch up Test

The test is a series of attempts that trigger the SCR structure within the CMOS IC while the relevant pins are monitored for over current behavior. Get a price quote.

 

HTOL Test

High temperature stress testing of ICs while they are biased, typically running for 1000 hours. Spec: JESD22-A108. Get a price quote.

 

HTS Test

High temperature stress to stimulate storage conditions. The test is done in 125C-150C, without any bias. Spec: JESD22-A103. Get a price quote.

 

HAST Test

Highly accelerated temperature and humidity stress test, the test is done in 85% and 85C. Specs : JESD22-A110 (biased), JESD22-A118 (unbiased). Get a price quote.

 

Preconditioning Test

Preconditioning test is exposing ICs to thermal conditions to simulate the conditions IC will have during PCB soldering process. Get a price quote.

 

Temperature Cycle Test

Temperature cycling is accelerating ICs failure rate to expose wire bond, bumping, crack issues etc. Spec: JESD22-A104. Get a price quote.

 

Next Steps

If you cannot conduct the qualification tests internally then it’s better to let one vendor manage the entire qualification tests for you. Remember that the ICs should be tested before and after the qualification tests, therefore, the IC qualification test vendor should be somewhat close to your test partner. AnySilicon platform consists of top IC qualification vendors, please click here to choose a vendor.