10 May 2023
Aehr receives first FOX-XP order for production wafer-level burn-in of silicon photonics ICs
Aehr Test Systems of Fremont, CA, USA has received the first order for a new high-power configuration of its FOX-XP system for production wafer-level burn-in of next-generation silicon photonics integrated circuits (ICs) from an existing major silicon photonics customer.
This FOX-XP multi-wafer test and burn-in system is configured to enable cost-effective production test of the next generation of silicon photonics ICs, which can require up to 2-4 times as much power for full wafer test, burn-in and stabilization of the silicon photonics devices. Shipment of this new higher-power-configured FOX-XP is scheduled for first-quarter 2024.
“We are excited to receive this first order for this system configuration from one of the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturers and expect them to order additional production systems as they ramp capacity for these devices,” says president & CEO Gayn Erickson. “This new FOX production system configuration expands the market opportunities of the FOX-XP system, as it’s able to test, burn-in and stabilize up to nine 300mm wafers in parallel with up to 3.5kW of power per wafer, which is beyond the wafer parallelism and power capacity of any system on the market. The system is also configured to allow direct docking to Aehr’s new fully automated FOX WaferPak Aligner and material handling system.”
“Multiple major semiconductor suppliers and foundries have announced their plans to manufacture and integrate silicon photonics into multi-chip packages, often now referred to as co-packaged devices or heterogenous integration, such as high-performance microprocessors, graphics processors, and processor to peripheral device chipsets,” continues Erickson. “These new devices have been predicted to dramatically improve the communication bandwidth between semiconductor devices beyond the bottleneck of traditional electrical interfaces used today. The challenge is that the devices individually can require a long production burn-in to weed out early failures or long stress tests to stabilize them before they can be assembled in the package with the other devices. This drives the need for high-volume, low-cost burn-in of these devices in wafer form, which is exactly what Aehr’s FOX-XP family of test and burn-in systems have been proven to successfully achieve.”
Aehr says that its FOX-XP system uses proprietary thermal chucks with a very high thermally conductive heat transfer fluid that allows direct thermal conduction transfer to apply and/or remove the wafer heat extremely efficiently and uniformly. This enables the system to control each wafer temperature very accurately at a temperature that ensures that the maximum stress conditions are applied without over-stressing any devices in the middle or at the edges of the wafer, where typical issues would occur on such high-power wafers.
“Our FOX systems use our proprietary and patented WaferPak full-wafer contactors that contact each device under test using precision current and voltage sources and independent measurement instruments to detect and ensure 100% traceability that every device was tested properly to the test recipe for voltage, current, power and temperature,” says Erickson.
The FOX-XP with the optional fully integrated FOX WaferPak Aligner uses these proprietary WaferPak full-wafer contactors and enables high-volume, hands-free operation using Front Opening Unified Pods (FOUPs), factory integration with SECs/GEM communication protocols, and is capable of automated material movement of wafer FOUPs with mobile robots or overhead material handling systems. The integrated WaferPak Aligner supports 100mm, 150mm, 200mm and 300mm wafer sizes using industry-standard wafer cassettes and FOUPs, which allows customers to easily support multiple wafer sizes and to move and align the wafers automatically into Aehr’s proprietary WaferPaks and place the WaferPaks into and out of multi-wafer FOX-XP systems that test and burn-in up to 18 wafers at a time.
“Adding automation through our new Aligner gives our wafer-level test and burn-in offering even greater value, as well as opens up several large incremental markets to Aehr such as high-volume processors and chipsets with integrated photonics transceivers, flash and DRAM memories, and also higher-mix devices requiring extremely high reliability and 100% burn-in such as automotive microcontrollers and sensors,” says Erickson.
The FOX-XP system, available with multiple WaferPak Contactors (full-wafer test) or multiple DiePak Carriers (singulated die/module test) configurations, is capable of functional test and burn-in/cycling of integrated devices such as silicon carbide (SiC) power devices, silicon photonics as well as other optical devices, 2D and 3D sensors, flash memories, gallium nitride (GaN), magnetic sensors, microcontrollers, and other leading-edge ICs in either wafer form factor, before they are assembled into single- or multi-die stacked packages, or in singulated die or module form factor.