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Xpress tech provides compression levels exceeding 100X

Posted: 08 Oct 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Mentor TestKompress  45nm process  65nm technology node 

Mentor Graphics Corp. has announced new technology in its TestKompress ATPG product to address the industry's increasing demand for scan test compression. By providing compression levels exceeding 100X, the new Xpress technology allows IC manufacturers to meet challenging quality objectives for advanced process nodes at 65nm and beyond without driving up the cost of testing.

The latest IC manufacturing process advances have significantly increased the number of gates on a chip, 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 defects per million (DPM) levels down.

Accelerating trend
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's TestKompress product, which debuted in 2001 as the first commercial ATPG tool to offer on-chip test compression, is on a technology path to meet these future compression targets with innovations like the new Xpress pattern compaction technology.

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 an efficient way to deal with Xs by combining sophisticated embedded test data selection circuitry with an advanced software control algorithm. Because Xpress technology masks the effects of Xs more efficiently, test patterns can be smaller and more highly compressed. More compressed test patterns result in shorter test times, higher production test throughput and lower manufacturing costs, and can extend the life of existing test equipment. Using Xpress technology requires no change to the functional design and is completely transparent to the TestKompress user, so there is no additional learning curve.

Xpress is available for beta evaluation and will be in production in the Q4 release of TestKompress, scheduled to ship in November.




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