ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- At this week's International Test Conference here, Aetruim Inc. is demonstrating a dynamic temperature control system for IC test handlers that it said breaks new ground in speed and efficiency
Unlike conventional test handler designs, which use a chamber to thermally condition ICs before and during test, the Aetrium DTX uses a proprietary conductive thermal technology to monitor and control the temperature of the IC under test. The new design allows the customer to monitor and control the temperature of the IC across a full range of temperature requirements in one pass, without having to take the device out of the test socket.
"The DTX thermal technology eliminates the need for the temperature chamber of conventional test handlers," said Joseph C. Levesque, president, chairman and CEO of Aetruim, based in St. Paul, Minn. "In final test applications we can show customers how the DTX can eliminate chamber stabilization and IC 'soak' time, but the biggest single factor for customers is that the DTX system can achieve in one test cycle what conventional test handlers need three or more cycles to accomplish."
Instead of reconditioning and resocketing a chip for hot, cold, and ambient temperature testing, the dynamic temperature control feature allows an IC to be socketed just once to be tested across a range from -55 degrees to +155 degrees C.
The DTX can be configured to test up to eight ICs at a time, and uses eight individual thermal heads to control the temperature of the devices under test (DUT).
Aetrium also is demonstrating a thermal forcing system that uses conductive technology to maintain accurate setpoints during test and characterization. The TFS-155 can thermally condition and control device temperature in less than one second on a 1-inch square bare die.
"This system allows customers to dynamically control the temperature of their hardest-to-test devices, such as high-end microprocessors or digital signal processors," Levesque said.
Aetrium's proprietary thermal control technology uses direct contact with the surface of the DUT. It measures only the temperature of the device itself, and dynamically compensates for external effects on the device. This maintains precise temperature during constant or variable power applications, and ensures that temperature characteristics of the load boards or other test fixtures do not affect the temperature of the device itself.
A semi-automated version of the TFS-155, which provides for the electromechanical movement of devices through a test docking mechanism, is also available.