Power & Analog Testing
Effectively and efficiently using power in a world driven more and more by mobile applications is a key driver of semiconductor technology. Power management devices are designed to deliver specific power levels while reducing energy consumption, cooling, or noise. Power management devices have a wide range of applications and level of complexity. A power management device is used for distributing accurate power throughout an electronic system and/or maximizing the battery life in a portable electronic system, like a smart-watch (wearable), smart-phone, or tablet. Increasing interest in Hybrid Electric and Electric Vehicles is also fueling growth in a new class of power management devices specific to this technology. Whether they are battery monitoring, motor control or distributing power from greater than 600V battery stacks like in the ones found in the Tesla’s Model S, power management devices play a fundamental role in the overall function of an electric vehicle.
Power management devices can range from very simple, 3 pin, analog only voltage regulators to highly complex, 250 pin, power management integrated circuits that include a mix of analog and digital technology. Approximately 90% of the different types of power management devices have 48 pins or less.
The level of complexity in a Power management device goes a long way in finding the right test solution. The characteristics of a highly complex power management device include moderate performance digital test capability and various voltage and current source/measure requirements. These types of devices tend to have a low product mix, high device pin count, high volume and long test times. These attributes of complex power management devices in turn require certain capabilities of the test solution. To do this the tester must have a high number of both analog and digital instruments. It must be capable of testing each partition of the device independently with no system overhead.
To achieve the cost of test targets a test solution must be capable of testing a high number of devices in parallel. LTX-Credence have developed for complex PMICs, in once instance, testing 48 devices in parallel.
For less complex devices the characteristics drive a different type of test solution. The less complex devices in aggregate tend to run very high volume but there is a much broader product mix that makes up that volume. They also tend to be analog only, short test times and the vast majority of devices in this classification have eight pins or fewer per device. The short test times and relatively lower volume for any one specific device means that being able to test a high number of devices in parallel is not an important requirement. Typically these types of devices are tested a maximum of eight in parallel.
While these devices are less complex they do cover a wide range of voltage and current, source and measure requirements so the test system must be capable of supporting a wide range of technology. They do not, however, require much, if any, digital test capability so the test solution should not be burdened by digital pin infrastructure costs. These devices tend to be very cost sensitive so the test system must scale to the test requirements.