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DelfMEMS, Presto team on RF MEMS test

February 04, 2014 // Peter Clarke

DelfMEMS, Presto team on RF MEMS test

Semiconductor engineering services company Presto Engineering Inc. (San Jose, Calif.) is working with DelfMEMS (Villeneuve d'Ascq, France), a supplier of radio frequency switches made using MEMS techniques, to develop a PXI-based test cell for the rapid characterization of such MEMS.

One issue about the ramp to volume of low cost components is that while they are being made initially in low volumes testing tends to be done using manual workbench set ups, which are slow and expensive. Fully automatic test equipment with parallel testing of multiple parameters on multiple devices is necessary to drive down cost but represents a high capital outlay.

Characterization testing of the low cost MEMS devices during the ramp phase, using either an ATE or bench test system, is, respectively, too expensive or too slow to meet the time-to-volume objective. The PXI-based test system is intended to ease that transition.

The test cell has designed to characterize various RF-MEMS, from single-pole, single-throw (SPST) up to SP16T configurations, in the time- and frequency domains. It samples every 250ns to characterize dynamic operation and the lifetime of RF MEMS relays from a mechanical and electrical standpoint. The same measurement hardware is also capable of performing RF measurement up to 6 GHz.

"The new system has reduced wafer test time by a factor of ten compared to the manual bench test setup we were using," said Karim Segueni, CTO of DelfMEMS, in a statement. "We will use it to validate the design of our new 4G LTE RF MEMS SPNT chip, and the faster cycle time will enable us to ramp to high-volume production more quickly and with better yield predictability."

Presto Engineering has support hubs in San Jose, California; Migdal Haemek, Israel and Caen, France.

Cedric Mayor, vice president technology and marketing for Presto, said: "Our biggest challenge in developing this system was achieving customer targets for less than one ohm contact resistance and S-parameter on N-inputs/outputs for each device, keeping in mind a sufficient throughput capability."

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