Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a technology which could improve VLSI testing by allowing for non-destructive testing of VLSI circuits under bias for electronic systems. With this new technology, researchers have focused on improving testing output as chip density increases along with decreasing chip sizes. Terahertz radiation (and related radiation at other frequencies – RF, sub-THz) is used to illuminate the chip under the test. The response is detected between the different output pins to determine if the connectivity between the output leads and the internal elements are electrically sound. By utilizing this technology, developers will be more easily make the final determination that the chip’s functional ability is sound and it is ready for packaging and integration into a product or system. The technique takes into account detected responses that can be a function of frequency, radiation intensity, or the position of the scanning radiation beam on the surface of the integrated circuit. Applications: VLSI testing; Evaluate chip integrity; Review of frequency, radiation testing, and scanning radiation beam positioning. Advantages: Non-destructive VLSI testing; Utilizes THz-based testing techniques; Connectivity testing between output leads and internal elements.

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Natasha Sanford