Curve Tracing Uses
Different types of Companies have different engineering challenges. Some applications cut across all types of companies and other applications are unique to the needs of a particular sector.
- OCM: Original Chip Manufactures have a clear need for Curve tracing in the failure analysis lab, Reliability engineering and Package qualification groups and sometimes in Characterization groups and Quality Departments. In this case the failed devices may come from the Field or anywhere along the manufacturing process. Some labs will do analysis at wafer level while many will do analysis on packaged devices. Regardless of the device or its packaging, Curve tracing gives a baseline look at the continuity of the pins of the device
- FABLESS: Fabless Semiconductor Companies have similar needs to the OCM but failures come mainly in packaged devices from the field or from the ATE final test result. Fabless companies will generally support a failure analysis lab and a Reliability engineering lab. The main difference is that failures from any step prior to packaging are generally the responsibility of the FAB
- OSAT / Packaging House: Off Shore Assembly and Test companies are responsible for putting the IC chip in the package and in doing so they are heavily invested in getting continuity correct. With a wide mix of their customer devices and very limited data on how they work, curve tracing proves to be the ideal opens shorts and leakage tester. Many larger OSAT labs also offer root cause failure analysis and this may have need for powered curve tracing and RTI open top fixtures for EMMI compatibility.
- Consumer OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturers do not make IC chips but are heavily impacted when they fail. These companies manufacture products that use IC chips and may support a failure analysis lab for basic analysis where the part is not opened but failure is confirmed electrically or for Root cause analysis whose goal is to obtain microscopic evidence of point of failure.
- Hi Reliability/Mil/Aero OEM: High Reliability manufacturers in Military, Aerospace and Medical device manufacturers have an obligation to their customers for impeccable quality and reliability so they must take the responsibility of understanding these failures on themselves. These companies sponsor not only failure analysis labs but also Quality labs where samples of their supplier’s product are sacrificed for destructive quality inspections. Furthermore these companies are now subject to federal laws requiring them to ensure the quality of devices they use in their products. As a result incoming and receiving inspection departments are tasked with detecting counterfeit and poor quality electronic components.
- Independent Labs: There are a number of independent failure analysis and reliability labs worldwide. These labs provide services to semiconductor companies that are either too small to support their own lab, have more work than their internal labs can handle or need specialized test capabilities they don’t have.
- Component Distributor: These companies sell components to other OEM companies. In some cases the parts being sold cannot be easily traced back to the OCM where authenticity is assumed. These companies can use curve tracing to collect evidence of the electrical condition of the pins. Used in a way similar to fingerprints, this data can be compared to other like devices to show that they are electrically similar.