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The Power Tester 1500A—Accelerated Testing and Failure Diagnosis of High-Power Semiconductors

White Paper The MicReD Power Tester can power the modules through tens of thousands, potentially millions, of cycles while providing real-time failure-in-progress diagnosis.

Engineering Edge

New Release: MicReD® Industrial Power Tester 1500A

Introducing the new MicReD® Industrial Power Tester 1500A for power cycling and thermal testing of electronics components to simulate and measure lifetime performance. The MicReD Industrial Power Tester 1500A tests the reliability of power electronic components that are increasingly used in industries such as automotive and transportation including hybrid and electrical vehicles and trains, power generation and converters, and renewable energy applications such as wind turbines.

It is the only commercially available thermal testing product that combines both power cycling and thermal transient measurements with structure function analysis while providing data for real-time failure-cause diagnostics.

Figure 1 Mentor Graphics Launches MicReD Industrial Power Tester 1500A for Power Cycle Testing of Electronic Components

Power electronics components are used for applications in which electrical energy is generated, converted, or controlled and where very high reliability is required during many years of constant operation. This new product is built for industrial electronic manufacturers to test reliability by examining the thermally induced degradations within the module stack-up. Both power cycling and thermal transient measurements are conducted on the MicReD Power Tester 1500A, without needing to remove the components from the test environment.

A technician or engineer is able to see the failure as it progresses and determine the exact time/cycle and cause.

Figure 2 User-friendly touch-screen interface

Figure 3 Device creation in interface

Figure 4 Placing devices on cold plate in interface

Reliability is a prime concern in many industries that use high-power electronics, so accelerated testing of these modules through a lifetime of cycles is a must for the component supplier, the system supplier, and the OEM. The MicReD Power Tester 1500A can power modules through tens of thousands—potentially millions—of cycles while providing real-time failure-in-progress data for diagnostics. This significantly reduces test and lab diagnosis time and eliminates the need for post-mortem or destructive failure analysis. Common thermally-induced mechanical failures that the Power Tester 1500A analyzes in real-time include die-attach wire bond separations, die and package stack-up delamination and cracks, and solder fatigue.

“The ability to pinpoint and quantify degradation in the thermal stack for all semiconductor devices during development will greatly assist in the development of cost-optimized packaging solutions currently hampered by package-reliability concerns,” said Mark Johnson, Professor of Advanced Power Conversion, Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham. “Mentor’s Power Tester 1500A should be an invaluable tool for investigating thermal path degradation in all types of power modules.”

The MicReD Power Tester 1500A is based on the Mentor Graphics® T3Ster® advanced thermal tester used in industries worldwide for accurate thermal characterization of semiconductor device packages and LEDs. The Power Tester 1500A is the first product in the MicReD Industrial line and it provides fully automated power cycling and testing (both thermal and electrical measurement) of power modules to provide comprehensive data for failure cause assessment. This enables organizations to make product improvements for reliability and extended performance. MicReD Industrial products incorporate the laboratory-level accuracy of the T3Ster product in robust machines for operators to use inside manufacturing facilities.

“Our MicReD Power Tester 1500A serves the growing demand for power electronics components that need to perform under extreme conditions with high reliability,” stated Roland Feldhinkel, General Manager of Mentor Graphics Mechanical Analysis Division. “We’re leveraging our expertise in thermal characterization and testing to deliver a product for industrial applications, where we see great potential – from electric vehicles and railway systems to renewable energy products.”

The MicReD Industrial Power Tester 1500A can perform power cycling tests of metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs), insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) and power diodes. The MicReD Power Tester 1500A provides a user-friendly touch-screen interface and can record a broad range of information during test, such as current, voltage and die temperature sensing, and detailed structure function analysis to record changes in the package’s thermal structure. This makes it an ideal platform for package development and quality checking of incoming parts before production.

The MicReD Industrial Power Tester 1500A provides several key benefits:

  • Continuous power cycling until failure, which saves time because the component doesn’t need to be removed, taken for lab testing then back to tester for more cycles.
  • Shortens total testing time by up to 10 times.
  • Leverages MicReD's industry-proven T3Ster technology with laboratory- precision accuracy.
  • Enables multiple samples to be tested concurrently.
  • Different powering strategies (constant power on/off time, constant case temperature swing, and constant junction temperature rise) can be applied during operation.
  • Provides “real-time” structure function diagnostics to show failure in progress, number of cycles, and failure cause.
  • Eliminates the need for lab post-mortem (x-ray, ultrasonic, visual) or destructive failure analysis.
  • Features touch-screen setup and controls enabling use by both specialists and production personnel.
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