Thermal Management for Testing High-Power IC Devices

AT ATS we come across a wide variety of thermal issues in electronics. One of the more unique problems involved inventing a cooling test head for semiconductor test equipment.The original test head was unable to accurately perform a test since the semiconductors it was testing were so hot!

It appears ATS isn’t the only one running into such  unique problems!

Jihad Hammoud, Ph.D., at Kulicke & Soffa, has written a good article for Evaluation Engineering Magazine entitled, “Thermal Management for Testing High-Power IC Devices“. In his article he notes the following:

  • As the transistor density and switching speed of integrated circuits (ICs) increase and the package size decreases, the emerging generation of high-power ICs requires thermal management during testing to ensure accurate results.
  • The choice of a thermal management system depends largely on the specific test application. High power simulation, temperature characterization, and high-volume production testing are three applications that require thermal management for high power devices. However, each application has different degrees of accuracy, speed, and overall cost.
  • The variations in accuracy, range, speed, and cost of different thermal management methods mean that no single one will meet the objectives of every high-power test application. Rather, the method selected will be the one that best meets the critical requirements of a specific test application.

He has a terrific chart at the end that does a nice job of summarizing various thermal management options. The article is well worth a read on the topic of thermal management in test.  You can find it at Evaluation Engineering Magazine, “Thermal Management for Testing High-Power IC Devices“.

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