Semiconductor Production Test Solutions

ADCModern semiconductor fabrication technologies continue to produce higher-performance and higher-functionality integrated circuits, even as some foretell the demise of Moore’s Law. The innovations that drive the industry to reduce costs and increase productivity also lead to mounting challenges, particularly in the areas of reliability, test, yield, and minimizing design cycles.

Ridgetop has been proud to serve the semiconductor industry since the company was founded in 2000. Our mission continues to be to help fabless integrated circuit (IC) vendors, semiconductor foundries, and application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) design houses to develop chips  that operate reliably even in the most difficult environments. Our products and services focus on improving IC  yield and reliability, cost-effective testing, and accelerating the design process for high-performance analog/mixed-signal ICs.

ProChek DSC01102-GFcables-fade-croppedRidgetop provides a line of precision measurement instruments for different IC test applications. Ridgetop’s ProChek™ for wafer-level reliability (WLR) characterization is a breakthrough compact, flexible, and cost-effective system. It is faster and provides more economical results than a rack full of conventional test-and-measurement equipment. ProChek is also well-suited to package-level reliability applications. For maximum value and characterization throughput, the ProChek system can be coupled with a customized test coupon that places arrays of test structures on a single chip, and accelerates the characterization process with heaters embedded inside the test coupon. ProChek systems are used by foundries and fabless IC manufacturers.

QD-1020-HCQ-Star Test™ products are found at over 800 installations spanning 70 semiconductor and systems firms.  The Q-Star Test line of precision current measurement instruments is used in engineering labs for circuit characterization, debug, qualification, quality assurance, and failure analysis, and in manufacturing test applications to separate good parts from bad.

Ridgetop has designed both conventional and radiation-hardened analog and mixed-signal (AMS) electronics for very challenging applications, including space missions and satellites. Our rad-hard designs include analog-to-digital data converters (ADCs) for both very low power and high-speed/high-resolution applications. These designs and other intellectual property (IP) circuits are encapsulated in Ridgetop’s InstaCell™ library of AMS design blocks.

For advanced IC packaging methods, Ridgetop has created in situ reliability monitors called TSV BIST™. These monitors provide real-time information about through-silicon via (TSV) or other interconnects between chips in a package of 2.5D or 3D stacked die, detecting wear-out effects and intermittencies buried deep within the package.

yieldmaxx_screenFabless companies need independent measurement process-level variations and mismatch in order to truly center their designs for a given foundry and process. nanoDFM™ comprises a library of die-level process monitors (DLPMs) in the PDKChek™ library. PDKChek includes IP blocks to measure various kinds of process-induced mismatch.  YieldMaxx™, a software package that is also part of nanoDFM, provides visualization of die- and wafer-level test results from PDKChek or other process monitors.

For applications where “failure is not an option,” Ridgetop provides Sentinel Silicon™ “canary cells.” These die-level blocks are designed to provide early warning of impending failure due to semiconductor wear-out factors or external radiation. Systems engineers can prepare mitigating actions when armed with such information.

In addition to our standard products, Ridgetop also supplies customized design services for demanding applications. Ridgetop is a Department of Defense Category 1A Trusted Integrated Circuit Supplier for design services under the Trusted Foundry Program managed by the DoD’s Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA). Ridgetop adheres to an ISO9001- and AS9100C-compliant quality management system.

For more information about Ridgetop’s products and services for the semiconductor industry, click here to contact us directly or follow the links below for additional information on-line.

 Overviews & Catalogs

Related Pages

Selected Product Briefs

Selected White Papers and Application Notes

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AN109: Ultra-Fast xBTI Reliability Tests with ProChek™
Addressing how ProChek can serve to gather bias temperature instability (BTI) data from test structures that are linked to a particular technology, this application note details how with the advent and deployment of nanotechnologies, and pushing the boundaries of existing technologies for specific analog applications, there is an increased need to understand, monitor, and control behavior resulting from bias temperature instability caused by exposure to long-term stress when the device is kept under certain operating conditions.
AN111: ProChek Hot Carrier Injection (HCI) Measurements for the ON Semiconductor ONC18 Process
As today’s microelectronic circuits are designed for high performance and long life in a wide range of applications, both IC develops and manufacturers must be aware of the inherent performance and reliability of the basic building block devices that are used in constructing the various analog, digital, and mixed-signal circuits to meet the needs of the market place. ProChek is a compact, self-contained test platform that replaces racks full of conventional test equipment, consisting of programmable test-and-measure resources that are employed to obtain the desired results.
ProChek™, A Comprehensive Fabrication Process Mismatch and Reliability Characterization Tool
Ridgetop Group Inc. has extensive experience in the design of mixed-signal components and reliability test structure designs for advanced technology microelectronics applications. This paper describes Ridgetop’s reliability evaluation capabilities and demonstrates how these capabilities uniquely support IC designers’ needs by providing information on ProChek, the comprehensive process mismatch and reliability characterization tool for advanced transistor technologies.
AN105 Flip-Chip Interconnection Integrity Testing Solutions
Providing a flip-chip solution overview for interconnection reliability problems, including test application considerations, Flip-chip refers to a packaging technique for interconnecting semiconductor devices, such as IC chips and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), wherein the active (top) area of the chip faces downward and any part of its surface areas can be used for interconnection. Flip-chips enable a larger number of interconnects in shorter distance than conventional wire-bond chips.
In-situ Sensors for Product Reliability Monitoring
The advantages of predicting reliability include providing advance warning signs of failure as well as reducing the life cycle costs through the reduction of inspections and unscheduled maintenance of critical equipment. However, predictions can be inaccurate if they do not account for the actual environments that the product is subjected to in its life cycle, so Ridgetop has developed an in-situ sensor (prognostic monitor) approach which can be used to estimate the accumulated damage and the RUL of semiconductor devices.
Prognostic Techniques for Semiconductor Failure Modes
Semiconductor reliability issues have become a major impediment to long term reliability of critical systems and as they have certain defined failure modes – that include time-dependent dielectric breakdown of the gate oxide (TDDB), hot carrier damage, and metal migration – that can contribute to end-of-life failures,  Ridgetop Group has developed a recommended methodology that is described in this paper that proposes the inclusion of pre-calibrated prognostic cells that can be co-located with a host circuit to provide an “early-warning” of a system failure, so that appropriate corrective action can be taken.
A Low-Power Sensor Design, SJ Monitoring 24x7 the Health of BGA Solder Joints
Ridgetop introduces a low-power sensor design, SJ Monitor™, which uses innovative circuit design on an IC chip in-situ on an FPGA’s board to provide a method to monitor 8 I/O pins 24x7 for solder-joint faults and which uses less than 5.0 mW. SJ Monitor is able to detect all solder joint faults of at least 100Ω (sensitivity) that last at least as long as 15 ns (resolution)—with no false alarms. The complementary form of SJ Monitor™ can be used to monitor the pins of powered-off FPGAs.

Links to conference presentations on this subject can be found in our Resource Library