SERTEST Shuttle Offers Fastest Methodology For SER Qualification
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Sept 9, 2002 - Today iRoC Technologies, a leader in the field of Infrastructure IP, announced SERTEST Shuttle™, a turnkey test for soft errors in memory and logic ICs that measures the effects of alpha particles, thermal neutrons and atmospheric neutrons, replicated by a high-energy neutron beam. The result is a Soft Error Rate (SER) qualification for ICs to assure their highest reliability, availability and security in electronic systems. As more designs utilize 0.13um and 0.09 um processes, soft errors must be accounted for because they will occur randomly and are difficult to track, not easy to reproduce and almost impossible to model. Testing for both alpha particles and radiation induced neutrons enables designers to understand how soft errors affect their circuits and then incorporate a solution before the product is released for manufacturing. Semiconductor manufacturers, system houses, fabless companies and IP providers are able to qualify their products with respect to an acceptable SER.
iRoC's new SERTEST Shuttle price starts at $40,000 and depends on a few variables such as the chip to be tested, number of runs to perform, parameters to be tested, and the location of the test. iRoC assumes total responsibility for the preparation and actual test, a process that currently may take as long as 12 weeks. In the coming months the process may be reduced to 6 to 8 weeks. The next tests to be conducted for new Shuttle customers will be in late December, 2002, at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) in New Mexico. The test follows the only existing JEDEC standard, which describes the necessary steps for a fully representative test sequence using alpha and neutron sources. JEDEC states that the best facility for testing the effects of cosmic rays is the high-energy neutron beam accelerator at LANSCE.
Los Alamos' Bruce Takala, group leader specializing in IC neutron testing, states that this facility is of the highest quality possible, "Because neutrons are produced at LANSCE by the same basic process as in the atmosphere (proton spallation), the neutron spectrum is similar to the neutron spectrum produced by cosmic rays in the atmosphere. There is no other equivalent continuous source in the world."
iRoC also announced tests to be conducted September 13 on multiple SRAM/DRAM memories at Los Alamos to generate SER metrics which can be used to benefit customers who sign up for the December tests. A brief generic summary of results, which will help inform the industry on testing advances, will be made available on the iRoC web site in October for Shuttle members.
"Our new Shuttle service provides the true values of outsourcing - saving time, staff and money," said Philippe Silvestre, director of engineering of iRoC Technologies. "Solving the soft error problem early in the design process will help speed products to market and eliminate worry about a high FIT rate in the field due to soft errors."
Value of Outsourcing
iRoC's testing service includes the following benefits to customers:
- A highly visible and guaranteed schedule for their test.
- A test performed according to existing recognized JEDEC standard. As a third party, iRoC acts as an expert between customers and their clients for their hardware qualification reports.
- The most cost-effective solution for SER testing because of highly specialized engineers in the different aspects of test preparation and management.
- The choice of radiation beam. As a guideline, the service is proposed at Los Alamos, but iRoC works also with other neutron beam facilities in the US and in Europe.
Today the SERTEST Shuttle, backed up by iRoC's expertise to assess the sensitivity of the tested IC, is unmatched by any other test service provider. Its competitive advantage stems from iRoC's flexibility in quickly addressing customer needs based on the deep experience of iRoC engineers and a highly versatile test bench that adapts rapidly and at low cost to any kind of IC. Furthermore the size of iRoC's client portfolio allows for flexibility in scheduling neutron beam slots in advance.
Adding to the SERTEST Family
In May 2002, iRoC announced a new bundle of services called SERTEST, a three-step solution to fully assess the soft error threat in any type of integrated circuit through SER simulation, radiation testing and technology characterization of all VDSM ICs. SERTEST Shuttle is critical test in the SER Qualification step to achieve robustness and reduce Failure In Time (FIT). The other two parts of SERTEST are SEU simulation and technology characterization. Modeling of soft error propagation is done through iRoC's ROBAN design software that models the soft errors and points out to the weak chain of the design.
Added Mr. Silvestre, "We see many companies that have years of experience investigating soft errors now systematically requesting SER testing from their memory and logic vendors. Furthermore, they have become strong advocates of JEDEC standard."
iRoC's schedule for testing at neutron beam test facilities in 2002 and 2003 is filling up rapidly because of the increasing need for SER testing. iRoC has developed experience with neutron beams in Europe in order to make the service available throughout the year.
About iRoC Technologies
iRoC is a leading semiconductor Infrastructure IP provider that licenses and tests dependable cores and technologies that improve electronic system reliability, availability and security using standard CMOS processes. iRoC's turnkey solutions for soft error protection and qualification include IPs, together with their generator tools, custom design and radiation test services. More information on the company's products and services can be obtained at www.iroctech.com for corporate and at www.sertest.com for radiation tests services and shuttle.
iRoC, SERTEST, SEUPROBE, SMARTESTBED and ROBAN are registered trademarks of iRoC Technologies Corporation. All other company or product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.