SOURCE: Antares Advanced Test Technologies

February 19, 2008 22:15 ET

Silicon Valley Semiconductor Engineers Conduct DUT-Level Qualification Burn-In Off-Site Under New Partnership Between Antares Advanced Test Technologies and IC Test Lab

Test Lab Makes 48-Slot Burn-In Chamber Compatible With Antares' iSocket Thermal-Management Technology

SANTA CLARA, CA--(Marketwire - February 19, 2008) - Antares Advanced Test Technologies and an undisclosed IC test lab in the Silicon Valley have partnered to configure a burn-in chamber at the test lab with Antares' iSocket thermal-management technology to allow semiconductor engineers in the region to conduct off-site qualification burn-in of 50W devices and below with individual DUT-level temperature controls.

Chipmakers and fabless companies are generally unable to deliver accurate burn-in data to customers when devices that experience varied thermal dissipation and power fluctuations -- due largely to shrinking wafer-fab architecture and related current leakage -- are qualified in a burn-in chamber with variable ambient temperatures, said Chris Lopez, Antares' manager of thermal solutions.

"When you've got really dense burn-in boards populated with devices drawing different amounts of current and you put those devices in a chamber environment, you're basically never going to know the exact temperature of any one device," Lopez said. "You won't be able to accurately identify or explain failure data."

Lopez added that the test lab's upgraded burn-in chamber is intended to give chip providers the ability to cost-efficiently conduct DUT-level qualification burn-in at high volumes without making major capital investments or employing staff to manage the qualification and product binning.

The test lab put the upgraded chamber online after using it to qualify a set of devices for a fabless ASIC provider and its FORTUNE 100 client, Lopez said.

The burn-in chamber at the lab is configured to qualify up to 1,536 devices at up to 150 degrees Celsius, Lopez said. The chamber is outfitted with 48 control slots to receive Antares' iSocket Racks -- with each one carrying up to 32 iSocket thermal-management assemblies. Each iSocket, or intelligent socket, includes an integrated heater, heat sink and thermal sensor, which calculates the precise amount of heat, or cooling, needed to maintain a device at a programmed temperature.

"For certain orders with tight burn-in standards, you're just not going to get reliable failure data without some sort of local temperature controls," Lopez said. "And when you talk about qualifying a device and start looking at cost and time to market, binning really isn't an option, so you look elsewhere."

Lopez said that Antares upgraded the test lab's chamber by essentially installing power supplies to run on-board logic and on-board heaters and connections to the PC that manages the chamber.

"We're using the chamber's drivers and their tester to run the test program and get to thermally controlled device-level burn-in as non-intrusively as possible," Lopez said.

About Antares Advanced Test Technologies

Antares Advanced Test Technologies is reducing the cost of semiconductor test by concentrating on high-sensitivity areas such as yield and the integration of test disciplines, focusing on customer support, delivering innovative technologies and offering a single point of contact for semiconductor test cell requirements, including burn-in sockets, test sockets, ATE consumables and thermal management solutions. Antares is headquartered in Vancouver, Wash. and has design, development and manufacturing locations in Suzhou, China; Yokohama, Japan; Phoenix and Gilbert, Ariz.; and Milpitas and Santa Clara, Calif. http://www.antares-att.com/

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