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Testing ICs: Getting to the Core of the Problem
November 1996 (vol. 29 no. 11)
pp. 32-38

Trends in integrated circuit design have made testing ICs more difficult than ever before. Yet test is essential: Although IC design and manufacturing methods obviously contribute to quality, high-quality ICs rely on high-quality test. And testing is a major contributor to the cost of manufacturing and maintaining ICs. The industry does have well-developed fault models and test-generation methods, and these methods are widely supported by design tools. However, their applicability to today's increasingly fast and complex circuits is limited by practical cost considerations. Design-for-test techniques, especially scan design and built-in self-test, can provide a satisfactory solution in many instances. Developments in IC technology continue to pose new testing challenges, however. A noteworthy example is the problem of efficiently testing predesigned, embedded components, or cores. Widespread use of cores is a new phenomenon, and it creates some challenging testing problems. This tutorial examines the market and technology trends affecting the testing of integrated circuits, with emphasis on the role of cores and built-in self-test. The authors explain manufacturing testing, as opposed to design testing, which happens before manufacturing, and on-line testing, which happens after.

Citation:
Brian T. Murray, John P. Hayes, "Testing ICs: Getting to the Core of the Problem," Computer, vol. 29, no. 11, pp. 32-38, Nov. 1996, doi:10.1109/2.544235
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