Venice, Florida — The latest integrated circuit manufacturing process advances have significantly increased the number of gates on an IC, and test pattern sizes continue to grow as a result. In addition, shrinking geometries introduce new defect mechanisms. To maintain the quality of product shipped, manufacturers need to apply an ever-expanding set of scan tests, such as "at-speed" and "small delay" tests, to identify subtle defects, and keep DPM (defects per million) levels down. Adding new types of tests expands the test pattern size many times over, and this trend is expected to accelerate at each process node. Consequently, test pattern compression has become an important requirement for high quality manufacturing test. In fact, the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) predicts that by 2008 the industry will need 200X test data volume compression, with the requirement growing exponentially over the next five years.
Mentor Graphics Corporation has announced new technology in its TestKompress® automatic test pattern generation (ATPG) product to address the industry's increasing demand for scan test compression. By providing compression levels exceeding 100X, Mentor's new Xpress technology increases the probability that IC manufacturers can meet their quality objectives for advanced process nodes without significantly driving up the cost of testing.
The latest version of the TestKompress product increases the achievable level of compression by providing a more efficient way to handle so-called "X-states." Xs are unknown states that can arise during manufacturing test. Xs can result in a loss of test coverage if not handled properly and tend to increase the test pattern size required to test a device thoroughly.
The patented Xpress compactor innovation provides a more efficient way to deal with Xs by combining sophisticated embedded test data selection circuitry with an advanced software control algorithm. More compressed test patterns result in shorter test times, higher production test throughput, lower manufacturing costs, and can extend the life of existing test equipment. Using Xpress technology requires no change to the functional design and is transparent to the TestKompress user.
TestKompress Xpress is available for beta evaluation. The production version of TestKompress is scheduled to ship in November 2007.