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Infineon claims 'first' test chip to avoid VIA defects

Posted: 10 Nov 2006     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Infineon  VIA  vertical interconnect  embedded flash  vertical interconnect defects 

Infineon claimed to be the 'first' to deliver the test chip for avoiding the vertical interconnect (VIA) defects in the production of highly integrated semiconductor circuits by a factor of 10.

Together with Regensburg University of Applied Sciences, Infineon developed the method as part of its Automotive Excellence program, launched three years ago to meet the automotive industry's quality requirements.

"The VIA test chip is a unique method for determining VIA reliability," said Elfriede Geyer, vice president of quality management at the automotive, industrial and multimarket business group of Infineon. "It lets us measure the reliability of VIAs by screening their quality on a permanent basis and by selectively analysing conspicuous VIAs. That allows us to avoid defects right from the start."

Typical to Infineon's Automotive Excellence program, the method identifies potential VIA failures with high probability, locates the corresponding sources of defects in the production chain, and eliminates or circumvent them from the outset.

The test chip maps an arrangement of more than 50 lakh VIA cells, with each cell containing both the VIA to be evaluated and the associated control electronics. The electrical resistance and voltage drop are measured and then used as parameters to establish whether a VIA is defective, and, if so, where the source of the defect lies.

Infineon is currently using the VIA test chip primarily for components being manufactured in 0.5µm and 130nm technology, such as the AUDO NG microcontroller, which uses 130nm embedded flash technology.

Infineon expects the VIA test chip to be suitable for future technologies such as 90nm and 65nm.

VIAs connect the metal conductors between the layers of wiring in an IC and are extraordinarily small with a diameter of 200nm. Electrical failure of a VIA can, at worst, impair an entire microcontroller, causing it suboptimal performance, even in applications that are critical to safety.

"Optimal security can only be ensured by delivering the highest product quality," Geyer said. "Our Automotive Excellence program aims to deliver zero-defect products and is the most comprehensive quality management program in the industry."

Infineon also expects the VIA method to drive down costs from fewer failure returns. Moreover, an optimal balance between chip/wafer surface and quality requirements can only be achieved if the anticipated failure rates per chip are known, said the company.

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