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Mentor Graphics Corporation (Nasdaq: MENT) today announced new technology in its TestKompress® automatic test pattern generation (ATPG) product to address the industry's increasing demand for scan test compression. By providing compression levels exceeding 100X, Mentor's new Xpress technology allows integrated circuit (IC) manufacturers to meet their most challenging quality objectives for advanced process nodes at 65 nanometers (nm) and beyond without driving up the cost of testing.
"Achieving high test quality for devices built on advanced processes implies an explosive growth in test pattern size," asserts Osamu Tada, department manager of System Level Design and Verification Technology Dept., Renesas Technology Corp., "We see the high level of compression provided by TestKompress Xpress as a critical advance to enable us to maintain high test coverage at a manageable test cost."
The latest integrated circuit manufacturing process advances have significantly increased the number of gates on an IC, and test pattern sizes continue to grow as a result. In addition, shrinking geometries introduce new defect mechanisms. To maintain the quality of product shipped, manufacturers need to apply an ever-expanding set of scan tests, such as "at-speed" and "small delay" tests, to identify subtle defects, and keep DPM (defects per million) levels down. Adding new types of tests expands the test pattern size many times over, and this trend is expected to accelerate at each process node. Consequently, test pattern compression has become an important requirement for high quality manufacturing test. In fact, the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) predicts that by 2008 the industry will need 200X test data volume compression, with the requirement growing exponentially over the next five years. Mentor's TestKompress product, which debuted in 2001 as the first commercial ATPG tool to offer on-chip test compression, is on a technology path to meet these future compression targets with innovations like the new Xpress pattern compaction technology.
The latest version of the TestKompress product increases the achievable level of compression by providing a more efficient way to handle so-called "X-states." Xs are unknown states that can arise during manufacturing test. Xs can result in a loss of test coverage if not handled properly and tend to increase the test pattern size required to test a device thoroughly. The patented Xpress compactor innovation provides a more efficient way to deal with Xs by combining sophisticated embedded test data selection circuitry with an advanced software control algorithm. Because Xpress technology masks the effects of Xs more efficiently, test patterns can be smaller and more highly compressed. More compressed test patterns result in shorter test times, higher production test throughput, lower manufacturing costs, and can extend the life of existing test equipment. Using Xpress technology requires no change to the functional design and is completely transparent to the TestKompress user, so there is no additional learning curve.
"The industry demand for compression has not slowed down since we first introduced compression to the market in 2001. In fact, based on our customers' rapid adoption of ever increasing levels of embedded compression, we believe that the ITRS compression roadmap paints an accurate picture of the industry's need," said Robert Hum, vice president and general manager of the Design Verification and Test Division, Mentor Graphics. "Mentor is committed to advancing compression technology in order to address not only the current needs, but also the future requirements of deep submicron IC testing."
TestKompress Xpress is available for beta evaluation and will be in production in the fourth quarter release of TestKompress, scheduled to ship in November 2007.
About Mentor Graphics Corporation
Mentor Graphics Corporation (Nasdaq: MENT) is a world leader in electronic hardware and software design solutions, providing products, consulting services and award-winning support for the world’s most successful electronics and semiconductor companies. Established in 1981, the company reported revenues over the last 12 months of over $825 million and employs approximately 4,300 people worldwide. Corporate headquarters are located at 8005 S.W. Boeckman Road, Wilsonville, Oregon 97070-7777.
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