Advanced testing paradigm shifting in era of heterogeneous integration

By Emmy Yi

SEMI Taiwan Testing Committee founded to strengthen the last line of defense to ensure the reliability of advanced semiconductor applications.

Mobile, high-performance computing (HPC), automotive, and IoT – the four future growth drivers of semiconductor industry, plus the additional boost from artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G – will spur exponential demand for multi-function and high-performance chips. Today, a 3D IC semiconductor structure is beginning to integrate multiple chips to extend functionality and performance, making heterogeneous integration an irreversible trend.

As the number of chips integrated in a single package increases, the structural complexity also rises. Not only will this make identifying chip defects harder, but the compatibility and interconnection between components will also introduce uncertainties that can undermine the reliability of the final ICs. Add to these challenges the need for tight cost control and a faster time to market, and it’s clear that semiconductor testing requires disruptive, innovative change. Traditional final-product testing focusing on finished components is now giving way to wafer- and system-level testing.

In addition, the traditional notion of design for testing, an approach that enhances testing controllability and observability, is now coupled with the imperative to test for design, which emphasizes drawing analytics insights from collected test data to help reduce design errors and shorten development cycles. Going forward, the relationship among design, manufacturing, packaging, and testing will no longer be un-directional. Instead, it will be a cycle of continuous improvement.

This paradigm shift in semiconductor testing, however, will also create a need for new industry standards and regulations, elevate visibility and security levels for shared data, require the optimization of testing time and costs, and lead to a shortage of testing professionals. Solving all these issues will require a joint effort by the industry and academia.

“With leading technologies and $4.7 billion in market value, Taiwan still holds the top spot in global semiconductor testing market,” said Terry Tsao, President of SEMI Taiwan. “When testing extends beyond the manufacturing process, it can play a critical role in ensuring quality throughout the entire life cycle from design and manufacturing to system integration while maintaining effective controls on development costs and schedules. Taiwan’s semiconductor industry is in dire need of a common testing platform to enable the cross-disciplinary collaboration necessary for technical breakthroughs.”

The new SEMI Taiwan Testing Committee was formed to meet that need, gathering testing experts and academics from MediaTek, Intel, NXP Semiconductors, TSMC, UMC, ASE Technology, SPIL, KYEC, Teradyne, Advantest, FormFactor, MJC, Synopsys, Cadence, Mentor, and National Tsing Hua University to collaborate in building a complete testing ecosystem. The committee addresses common technical challenges faced by the industry and cultivates next-generation testing professionals to enable Taiwan to maintain its global leadership in semiconductor testing.

The SEMI Taiwan Testing Platform spans communities, expositions, programs, events, networking, business matching, advocacy, and market and technology insights. For more information about the SEMI Taiwan Testing platform, please contact Elaine Lee (elee@semi.org) or Ana Li (ali@semi.org).

Emmy Yi is a marketing specialist at SEMI Taiwan.  

This story originally appeared on the SEMI blog.

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