Automated Accelerated Reliability Test System [AARTS]
Accel-RF Corporation is the only provider of fully integrated RF accelerated life-test/burn-in
test systems for compound semiconductor devices which are used in the implementation of
broadband wireless infrastructures and networks. Our fully automated turnkey systems
determine RF and DC performance degradation with aging to predict life expectancy. Today’s
new wireless components are enabled by innovative compound semiconductors, i.e., GaAs,
SiGe, GaN, SiC, InP and monolithic-microwave-integrated-circuit (MMIC) devices, capable of
transmitting and receiving radio frequency (RF) signals. There is a growing demand and
requirement to measure the life expectancy of these emerging devices by the manufacturers
and customers of RF compound semiconductor products.
8 / 16-Channel RF Systems
The RF Automated Accelerated Reliability Test Station (AARTS) systems are designed to stress devices
with RF, DC, and thermal stimulus. The systems were designed from their inception to include RF stimulus - it
was not added as an after-thought. Hence, the software and hardware are fully integrated and provide full-
featured support. Each Device Under Test (DUT) has independent control of all three stimulus parameters.
Since the computer measures all input and output power, and knows the surface temperature of the DUT, it can
calculate the surface-to-channel temperature differential (either from a constant Tjc, or from a polynomial
equation fitting ?T to total power dissipation and device surface temperature).
The RF systems offer the following key features:
· Up to 36 channels in a 3-bay rack
· High-frequency performance of fixtures that support a variety of standard RF package types (custom design are also available)
· Individual control of each DUTs temperature allows software control of channel temperature without requiring constant power dissipation
· Innovative fixture design that support Millimeter-Wave operation
· High RF power capability (up to 20W per channel)
· Range of DC power designs (60W to 400W)
Several Fixture Designs Available
The Standard RF, Millimeter-Wave, and Muti-Function Fixtures are shown below:
Standard RF Fixture
· A larger number of channels may be placed into the same footprint (up to 96 channels maximum)
· Two DUT fixture options are available (see description below)
· The system cost is lower because expensive RF components are not required
· Total power dissipation is lower
· Calibration is simpler since no RF is required
Only Two Fixture Design Options Available for the DC Systems
The RF-Ready DC Fixture and Dual-Device DC Fixture, shown below:
The DC Automated Accelerated Reliability Test Station (AARTS) systems are designed to maximize channel density. The first systems developed by Accel-RF (ARF) were intended for RF and DC stimulus to the Device Under Test (DUT). However, there are some applications in which RF stimulus is not required.
The DC-only systems offer several advantages:
96-Channel DC System
RF-Ready DC Fixture
Dual-Device DC Fixture
The Standard RF and mmW Fixtures support pulsed and non-pulsed operation. The Standard RF Fixture employs SMA input/output
connections, with a coplanar waveguide transition across the air-gap discontinuity. The mmW Fixture is designed for very high-frequency
operation. Waveguide input is converted to a planar (microstrip) waveguide inner area. This allows mounting of mmW MMICs or planar devices,
while allowing lower loss transmission line routing of the mmW power.
The RF-Ready DC-Fixture offers the user the option of including input/output matching structures. This provides a means to tune up a device for specific performance as measured on another test station, such as a network analyzer. Although RF stimulus and measurements are not available on the DC-only station, the DUT could be characterized before and after the life test run on external equipment. Further, depending on device characteristics, matching may be required for device stability.
The Dual-Device Fixture is designed to house two separate devices in the same package. A PGA-style package is employed and bias lines are brought in from either side of the fixture. Hence, independent biasing of each device allows even further increased density using this option.