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Notes on automotive semiconductor reliability Terminology: defects per million (DPM) Today's consumers and original equipment manufacturers

require high quality and reliability as a starting point for automotive products, particularly electronic s. The electronic component content in automobiles is growing at an estimated 8. 1% Compounded Average Annual Growth Rate [Automotive Semiconductor Demand 2005 2014, Strategy Analytics, Chris Webber, October 2007]. This expansion is driving an ever increasing need for zero defects at product introduction. The challenge for semiconductor suppliers is to meet this requirement while still providing a cost-competitive product. In this article, the focus will be on best practices for zero defects during the semiconductor product ramp-up to production phase. It is in this early phase of the product life cycle where the probability of shipping parts at risk for earl y life failures is highest due to newness of the product. Automotive Electronic Council (AEC) Q100/Q101 Automotive Reliability Testing st andards, and are capable of supporting the Production Part Approval Process (PPA P). Enter the device(s) of interest to search for the current AEC and PPAP statu s The above figure shows the classic "bathtub" curve illustrating new product reli ability over time without implementing any best practices when production begins . Early life failures are considered to be time-zero/low-mileage failures. This rate reduces over time to what is considered a random failure rate (provided any systemic problems have been resolved) based on corrective actions and continual improvement activities being implemented. As failure rates are reduced to random and the product ages in the field, it beg ins to reach its rated lifetime leading to an increase in failure rates due to w ear out. Typically failure mechanisms that dominate one phase are not necessaril y the same mechanisms that dominate other phases of the product life cycle. The zero defects approach is a focused attack on the "early life" portion of the curve by implementing known best practices. The main strategies deployed for ze ro defects launch include adequate test-for-quality (TFQ) coverage; special buil d flow considerations such as burn-in for new technologies; and implementing out lier control. Successful implementation of different strategies in a layered app roach, with real time data and device analysis, allows for detection of early li fe failures, accelerated learning, and timely implementation of corrective actio ns without impact to the customer. The first tactic for zero defects during product launch is to implement TFQ best practices. These best practices include VMIN and VMAX testing based on device c haracterization over temperature and understanding of extreme process conditions (corner lot evaluations); special functional testing very specific to the devic e design; and other best practices such as power-off leakage testing. A key aspect of TFQ is setting proper test limits based on statistical data. Add itionally, you'll want to ensure that any device design structures that cannot b e tested in final package form are tested at wafer probe. A good example is test ing oxide-integrity stress in large capacitor structures if the test and design la yout accommodate direct access to the capacitor itself. Other good test implemen tation practices include those that focus on ensuring high test coverage levels of greater than 95%, scan implementation on high-gate count devices, over-voltag e stress testing, and statistically-based quiescent current tests. Combined, the

se items ensure that the component meets datasheet specifications while screenin g outlier parts from the product population. The second tactic deployed in screening-out early life failures is to implement special build flows based on technology risk. An example of such a special flow is implementing burn-in during production ramp. Burn-in is typically implemented with new technologies and custom designs where there is risk in potential passthrough of unknown defects. To do this properly, you'll need to understand the process technology and design with respect to access of critical components and the conditions selected for b urn-in (voltage, temperature, and duration of stress). When deployed effectively , burn-in can accelerate early life failures for better inline detection and def ect screening, which drives learning and corrective action loops early in the pr oduct's life cycle without negative impact to the customer. In order to maximize the value of burn-in: All parts that fail post burn-in testing should be submitted for full electrical and physical failure analysis. The root cause of each fail signature should be determined. The appropriate corrective actions should be implemented. Corrective actions often include defect reduction actions in the wafer fabricati on processing technology itself, improvements in automated test equipment stress testing to accelerate fail mechanisms, and improved outlier controls implemente d upstream in the process, with the goal to drive post burn-in test results towa rds 100% yield. The figure below shows an example of improved post burn-in yield s after implementing a test enhancement based on what was learned during the pro duction ramp phase.