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Automotive Semiconductor Test

We are witnessing the gradual transition of the automobile from a simple means of transportation to a mobile
electronic hub. The amount of electronic content in passenger cars continues to grow rapidly. Recent reports
indicate that electronics now contribute about 40% of the total costs of a traditional, internal combustion
engine car, and this jumps as high as 75% for the growing number of electric and hybrid-electric vehicles. The
amount of electronics will only continue to grow as manufacturers continue to add new advanced safety
features, greater information and entertainment services and improvements in energy efficiency. Safety
features are experiencing particularly large growth and encompass items such as collision avoidance, lane
change assistance and automatic parking. The industrys move towards fully autonomous vehicles promises to
even further increase the number of these safety features.
The electronic components behind these safety features, as well as any other electronics involved in the
operation of the vehicle, need to meet extremely high quality and reliability metrics. To ensure consistency
across the large and growing number of automotive suppliers, an international automotive components
safety standard was established. Called ISO 26262, the standard defines the requirements for building safe
automotive equipment and is being rapidly adopted by automotive manufacturers and suppliers worldwide.
The standard is comprehensive and covers all aspects of the hardware and software lifecycle from design
through testing and in-field operation.
The Mentor Tessent product family offers several solutions for helping to address the quality and reliability
metrics mandated by the standard. Solutions exist for increasing both the manufacturing test quality as well
as the long term reliability of automotive parts.


The widely used methodology for testing digital circuits is to add scan test structures to the design and then
deliver test patterns through these structures that reveal defects when the chip responses are observed. The
approach has been in use for decades and is based on modeling circuit defects to a level of abstraction that
enables a computationally efficient test pattern generation process. The simple stuck-at fault model, which
models circuit defects as logic nets stuck at either a 0 or 1 value, was initially used. More complex fault models
were added over the years to account for new defect types that appeared as the industry transitioned to new
technology nodes. Among the more recently adopted fault models were the transition, bridging, open and
small-delay faults.
However, with the move to smaller geometries these fault models and associated test patterns are becoming
less and less effective at ensuring desired quality levels. The main problem is that all of these existing fault
models only consider faults on cell inputs and outputs and on interconnect lines between these cells. In other
words, only faults abstracted to the netlist level are explicitly considered.
It turns out, however, that increasingly more defects occur within the cell structures. For the more advanced
technology nodes and associated fabrication technologies between 130 nm and 90 nm, the number of defects
found within cells to represent half of all circuit defects and has been increasing in each successive technology
node. Thousands of patterns are typically produced during the normal ATPG process. As a result, although
traditional fault models do not target cell-internal defects, many of these defects end up being detected by
chance. However, when considering millions of gates in a design, it is not effective to rely on luck to detect
potential defects within each cell.
One option would be to apply every possible combination of inputs at every gate. This fault model is referred
to as the gate-exhaustive fault model. It would certainly be effective in detecting all static cell-internal defects
since it would apply every possible combination. For example, for an 8 input cell, gate-exhaustive testing
would apply all possible 28 = 256 input combinations. It is easy to see that applying such an exhaustive set of
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Automotive Semiconductor Test

patterns quickly becomes impractical. To make matters worse, many defects inside cells are timing related and
therefore are not detectable using static tests. A two-pattern test is necessary to detect such defects. So for
the 8 input cell example, two-cycle gate exhaustive testing would require the application of 28 x 28 = 65,536
patterns. For designs with very high quality requirements such as those looking to comply with the ISO 26262
standard, a much more efficient test strategy for detecting cell-internal defects is clearly necessary.
A recently introduced ATPG-based test methodology achieves the needed efficiency improvements by
directly targeting specific defects internal to each cell [1]. The cell-aware test approach starts with an
automated cell library characterization process, which is illustrated in Figure 1.
Each semiconductor process node
has a set of technology cell libraries
used to describe the logic behavior
and physical layout of the lowest
level component in the netlist. The
cell-aware characterization process
starts with an extraction of the
physical library, represented in
GDSII. Each extracted cell results in a
Figure 1: Generating cell-aware fault models through library characterization.
transistor-level netlist with parasitic
resistances and capacitances.
A resistance location represents a conductive path with the potential for an open defect, while a capacitance
identifies locations with the potential for a bridge defect. An analog simulator is then used to simulate each
potential defect against an exhaustive set of stimuli to determine if there are sets of cell inputs that produce
an output different than the defect-free result. The simplest case is to simulate each capacitive location with a
1-ohm resistance representing a hard bridge. Many other resistive values can be used as well with some
resulting in different test stimuli requirements. In addition, simulating over multiple cycles is also useful to
detect bridges or opens that are only observed as dynamic defects.
The final process in cell-aware characterization is to convert the list of input combinations into a set of the
necessary input values for each fault within each cell. Because this information is defined at the cell inputs as
logic values, it is basically a logic fault model representation of the analog defect simulation. This set of
stimulus for each cell represents the cell-aware fault model file for ATPG. Within this file, a simulated defect
(now a fault) can have one or more input combinations. Note that because the cell characterization process is
performed for all cells within a technology library, any design using that technology can read in the same cellaware fault model file. Characterization only needs to occur once and then can be applied to any design on
that technology node.
Silicon results have shown significant additional
defect detection beyond standard stuck-at and
transition patterns when using cell-aware ATPG.
These detection improvements have been
measured at various technology nodes from 350
nm down to 32 nm and below. Perhaps more
importantly, these improvements have been
achieved with modest increases in test
application times. The defect coverage
improvements obtained using cell-aware test
patterns can also result in other test benefits.
With these improved results, it may become
possible to reduce or eliminate other costly test
procedures such as performance margining or
system-level testing.
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Figure 2: DPM improvements with cell-aware ATPG.

Automotive Semiconductor Test


Improvements to test quality and efficiency for ISO 26262-compliant ICs standard can be achieved using a
new hybrid test solution, which combines both ATPG compression and logic BIST techniques. Although these
solutions have historically been used independently and typically for different applications, they possess
complimentary features that turn out to be very beneficial in combination. The two solutions also make use of
much the same on-chip DFT resources. For example, they both make use of scan chains and related test
clocks. The main difference between the two solutions lies in the on-chip logic feeding test data to the scan
chains and processing the test response data coming out of the scan chains. It turns out, however, that there
are also similarities in this logic so the logic of the two solutions can be effectively combined to support both
approaches. A diagram illustrating the high-level architecture for the hybrid solution is shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Hybrid ATPG Compression and Logic BIST Architecture.

Most of the on-chip resources shown in the diagram are common to both test approaches. The only resources
unique to one approach or the other are the EDT low-power and Xpress modules used for ATPG compression
and the multiple-input signature register (MISR) module used by the logic BIST solution. In addition to
efficient sharing of resources, both ATPG compression and logic BIST capabilities can also be integrated into
the design using common flow automation capabilities, adding to the overall efficiency and value of the
Another critical area addressed by the ISO 26262 standard is long-term device reliability. A number of
techniques are already in use by many semiconductor manufacturers towards achieving the necessary
reliability levels, including methods such as functional redundancy, error correction and built-in self-test. The
hybrid solution therefore plays another critical role related to the ISO 26262 standard. The solutions logic BIST
capability can be combined with other common BIST capabilities, such as memory BIST, to provide in-system
test coverage for most, if not all, of the design. All of the BIST capabilities can generally be accessed through
the standard IEEE 1149.1 TAP controller interface.
A dedicated TAP interface is sometimes not accessible in-system. There are multiple options to accommodate
in-system access. The TAP controller can be enhanced to also support a generic CPU interface that translates
between parallel read/write CPU operations and the serial bit sequences required by the TAP protocol. For
situations where a fully autonomous power-on self-test (POST) capability is required, a test controller can
instead drive the TAP controller, as illustrated in Figure 4.
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Automotive Semiconductor Test

When activated by a power-on reset signal, this test controller automatically applies the necessary serialized
sequences to the TAP to perform any needed BIST initialization and activation. This controller can be made
fully programmable with test sequence instructions stored in an embedded memory. If even more automation
is required for a very fast initialization, a pre-set configuration can be present at start-up to immediately begin
the logic BIST operation. If necessary, the BIST patterns can be paused and resumed later.

Figure 4: Programmable Power-On Self-Test Architecture.


Yield excursions can occur even for the more mature processes that are typically used for automotive parts.
The underlying cause of an excursion may have an effect on long-term reliability. Quickly identifying and
correcting the problem is therefore important.
Mentors diagnosis-driven yield analysis (DDYA) technology can rapidly identify the root cause of yield loss
and effectively separate design- and process-oriented yield loss components. In a previously published case,
Freescale used the results from diagnosis analysis of 1300 failing die to improve mature yield by 1.5% in a few
weeks [2]. New advances in diagnosis
analysis technology make DDYA more
valuable than ever before.
DDYA has two key components. First, as
illustrated in Figure 5, scan diagnosis
software makes failing test cycles valuable
by identifying defect locations and
classifications based on the design
description, scan test patterns, and tester
fail data.

Figure 5: Layout-aware scan diagnosis identifies the location and classification of defects in
digital semiconductor devices.

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The second component in a DDYA flow is

the statistical analysis, which makes the
diagnosis results from a number of failing
devices actionable. The primary challenge
for yield analysis based on diagnosis data
is dealing with the ambiguity in the

Automotive Semiconductor Test

results. For example, the defective behavior seen on the tester could be explained by a defect in more than
just one single location. Second, each diagnosis result, often referred to as a suspect, could have multiple
possible root causes associated with it. To effectively eliminate the noise in the diagnosis results and
determine the underlying root causes represented in a population of failing devices, there is a new technology
called root cause deconvolution (RCD) [3]. This technology is based on Bayesian probability analysis, which is
well-known in machine learning applications. It leverages design statistics such as critical area per net
segment per metal layer and count of tested cells per cell type. The technology uses a probabilistic model that
calculates the probability of observing a set of diagnosis results for a given defect distribution. This model is
in turn applied to determine the most likely defect distribution for a given set of diagnosis results.
A typical RCD analysis flow is shown in Figure 6. Layout-aware diagnosis is performed on a set of die that
failed manufacturing test (1). Each diagnosis result contains a set of root causes that are potential explanations
for the failure. If we add up all the root causes and count the number of die whose failure could be explained
by each root cause, we get a diagram that includes all the real root causes as well as the noise (2). RCD then
eliminates this noise and identifies the underlying root cause distribution (3). From this distribution, the user
can focus on the most significant root cause, or on a root cause that has not been seen before or for other
reasons is unexpected. Along with the root cause distribution, RCD assigns a probability for root cause per
diagnosis suspect (4). This means that the user can easily identify the die that has the highest probability of
representing a particular root cause, and use that as way to select die for failure analysis (FA). When comparing
the RCD results to the original diagnosis report for one failing die, we see that RCD has eliminated several of
the original root causes, thus effectively improved the resolution for that individual result (5). In this particular
example, the original report contained 7 possible root causes for one failing die, while RCD limited this to one
single result. The layout snapshots show the defect bounding boxes before and after RCD (6).

Figure 6: Root Cause Deconvolution determines the root cause distribution and devices most likely to fail for each root cause.

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Automotive Semiconductor Test

Diagnosis-driven yield analysis with RCD is a quick and cost effective way to determine the underlying root
causes represented in a population of failing devices from test data alone. This technology can ferret out the
final 1% yield loss in mature technologies typically used for automotive parts.

Meeting the quality and reliability requirements of the ISO 26262 and other automotive electronics standards
will only become more difficult as device sizes and complexities continue to grow. New advanced test
technologies such as cell-aware ATPG, hybrid compression/logicBIST and diagnosis-driven yield analysis
with RCD provide some key building blocks towards ensuring compliance to the new standards. Adoption of
these and other advanced test capabilities will not only improve the ability of semiconductor manufacturers
to achieve necessary quality and reliability metrics, but will also help to further differentiate their products
by delivering embedded test capabilities that can be leveraged by their customers at the system level and
in the field.

[1] Hapke, F., et. al., Cell-Aware Test, IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems, Volume 33, Issue 9.
[2] W.Yang, C. Hao, Diagnosis-Driven Yield Analysis Improves Mature Yield, Chip Design Magainze, Fall 2011.
[3] B. Benware,, Determining a Failure Root Cause Distribution From a Population of Layout-Aware Scan Diagnosis Results, IEEE
D&T of Computers, Volume 29, Issue 1.

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