Software for parametric test is set to accelerate semiconductor chip production

Software developed by Tektronix for the Keithley S530 series parametric test system has been announced by Tektronix. The KTE V7.1 software has options available for the first time, including a new parallel test capability and a high-voltage capacitance test option for emerging power and wide bandgap applications.

According to Tektronix, the KTE V7.1 improves test times more than 10 per cent compared with KTE V5.8, to enable engineers to reduce downtime and make chips faster.

While global demand for semiconductors has been fuelled by the emergence of 5G and growth of the IoT, worldwide shortages have led to the need to increase manufacturing and test new chips faster.

“Today’s emerging analogue, wide bandgap (SiC and GaN), and power semiconductor technologies require parametric testing that maximises measurement performance, addresses a wide product mix, and minimises cost,” says Peter Griffiths, general manager, Systems & Software at Tektronix. 

The release of KTE V7.1 builds upon the improvements in functionality and throughput being made to the S530 system since the release of KTE 7.0. The new testhead design allows flexibility in use of varying probe cards. The upgraded software and hardware enables single-pass testing and high throughput. The recently released system reference unit (SRU) shortens the calibration time to less than eight hours – a typical shift period.

Aailable for the first time as an option on the KTE V7.1 release, the S530 now features a powerful parallel test option that further improves productivity and lowers testing costs with an anticipated 30 per cent improvement range (depending on tests and structures). The S530’s hardware architecture enables up to eight high-resolution SMUs to connect to any test pin through any fully Kelvin port / row in the system. Keithley’s parallel test software optimises the efficiency of all system resources to maximise test throughput, observes Tektronix.

There is a growing demand for chips with faster switching speeds and more efficient switching. To test these wide bandgap devices at their higher operating voltages, engineers are moving from the R&D lab into fabrication. KTE V7.1 has the high voltage capacitance voltage (HVCV) option in combination with what is believed to be the industry’s only single-pass testing solution that can measure between 200 and 1,000V, to test capacitance up to 1,100V DC bias. This production-ready capability enables precision measurement of Cdg, Cgs, and Cds to support characterisation and test of a power device’s input and output transient performance.

In addition, up to two 2470 SMUs can be configured in a S530-HV system, and the high voltage switch matrix inside the S530-HV enables the user to perform these measurements on any test pin at any time. This flexibility allows it to meet the pin-out requirements of a wide mix of test devices and structures, while eliminating the throughput delays and higher costs associated with two-pass testing or dedicated pin approaches, says Tektronix.

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