What Is the Semiconductor Test System (STS)?

STS is a production-ready ATE for RF and mixed-signal semiconductor devices that improves time to market and lowers the cost of test.

Smarter Alternative to RF and Mixed-Signal Semiconductor Test

Optimized for throughput, STS features a unified software architecture that accelerates the process of developing, debugging, and deploying test programs through intuitive interactive software, powerful test management software, and prebuilt drag-and-drop examples for common semiconductor actions. STS is ready for the test cell with support for manipulators, handlers, and wafer probers, and a standard spring pin layout that enables highly transferrable load boards and test programs. To complete the solution, NI offers engineering services, bring-up services, training, and support.

Key Benefits

  • Comprehensive portfolio of RF, Digital, and DC instrumentation—You can scale STS configurations up or down to include the instrumentation resources you need for RF and mixed-signal device test.

  • Unified Software Experience—STS offers standard software to develop, debug, and deploy multisite test programs including pin/channel mapping, test limit importing/exporting, binning, and STDF reporting.

  • Prebuilt Test Code—You can use drag-and-drop software templates for common semiconductor test operations such as RF waveform generation and acquisition, continuity checks, leakage tests, or digital pattern bursts.
  • Test Cell Integration—The standard docking and interfacing infrastructure allows for seamless integration with manipulators, device handlers for package test, and wafer probers for wafer test.

  • System Calibration—You can calibrate digital, DC, and RF resources to the spring probe interface or RF blind mates.

  • Services and Support—Engineering services, bring-up services, training, and technical support help you get up and running quickly.

Which Solution Are You Interested In?

RF Front Ends

Wireless chipmakers know that time-to-market pressures and production test throughput are critical considerations when evaluating test solutions. For RF power amplifiers (PAs) and front-end modules, STS provides significant test time and throughput advantages over traditional ATE options. NI’s heavy involvement in lab applications translates to strong experience with the latest wireless standards, such as 5G NR. NI offers significant IP and cutting-edge instrumentation with industry-leading bandwidth that can help you accelerate your production test development and deployment process.

Key Features

 

  • Industry-leading 1 GHz bandwidth for complex RF measurements
  • Support for wireless standards, including GSM, TD SCDMA, WCDMA, LTE, LTE-A, 5G NR, and 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax
  • Up to 48 bidirectional RF ports with S-parameter test capability
  • SPI, MIPI, and custom digital communication library for front end modules (FEMs)
  • Optional high-power RF - up to +40 dBm
  • Optional harmonics measurements - up to 18 GHz
  • Optional noise figure measurements - with Y-factor and cold source support

" A few of our other business units have already adopted STS, and it was some of their recommendations that first convinced our RF business unit to try it out for this Massive MIMO application. I’m very pleased by the progress, of course; in manufacturing, throughput is everything. Higher throughput means more devices shipped to our customers faster, which fundamentally means business results.."

David Reed, Executive Vice President of Global Operations, NXP

IoT Devices

Semiconductor chipmakers know that the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) has led to an increase in the diversity and volume of IoT semiconductor devices with a cost-optimized price point that can be difficult to address with traditional ATE solutions. For microcontroller-based IoT devices with communication standards such as Bluetooth LE, NB-IoT, Wi-Fi, and ZigBee, STS provides a flexible production test platform that can scale up to meet expanding production volumes or scale down to meet constricting budgets.

Key Features

 

  • Industry-leading 1 GHz bandwidth for complex RF measurements 
  • Support for wireless connectivity standards, such as Bluetooth LE, NB-IoT, Wi-Fi, and ZigBee 
  • Optional audio input and output instrumentation resources 
  • Optional high-frequency signal generation and capture instrumentation resources

"When NI introduced STS, it was an obvious choice. Why wouldn’t we do it? It married PXI with ATE, which is exactly what we needed . . . We were able to save $60,000 per month and achieve a full return on our investment in less than two years. We increased our test coverage and improved our quality. Furthermore, because of the longevity of the PXI platform and the stability of NI, we are confident that we are investing in a platform that will be around for many years to come."

Warren Latter, Staff Test Engineer, ON Semiconductor

Mixed-Signal Devices

Semiconductor chipmakers know that testing typical and corner-case devices across a diverse mixed-signal portfolio often leads to a broad range of test requirements. For mixed-signal devices, such as data converters, power management ICs, fingerprint sensors, linear devices, and MEMS devices, STS provides a flexible production test platform that can scale up to meet expanding test requirements or scale down to meet tight budgets.

Key Features

 

  • Common instrumentation resources for mixed-signal device test, including digital, VI (DC source measure units), switches, and more
  • Interactive software that helps ease test program development, accelerate tester bring-up, and simplify debugging
  • Comprehensive measurement library that provides a higher level starting point for test program development
  • Optional high-frequency signal generation and capture instrumentation resources
  • Optional audio input and output instrumentation resources

"In the end, we found that STS was 30 percent faster, met all our success criteria, and was cheaper to purchase than renting traditional ATE."

John Cooke, Product Test Engineer, Cirrus Logic

Talk to a Technical Expert to Learn More About Semiconductor Test Solutions

Services


STS Services and Support

You expect NI systems to help you maximize uptime of deployed testers, NI offers specialized service programs designed to meet the critical uptime needs of semiconductor test applications while helping to increase factory efficiency and minimize maintenance. Available services include 24-hour turnaround for replacement hardware, on-site maintenance and troubleshooting, 24x7 STS phone and e-mail technical support, NI managed sparing, on-site calibration, and more. With every STS deployment, NI partners with you to determine the level of service that best meets your application needs and ensure long-term success.