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Modular Desktop Platform for High-Temperature Characterization and Test up to 300C
Keywords: high-temperature test, characterization platform, portable high-temperature fixture
Industrial and automotive applications require sensor systems operating in high-temperature environments. These systems target high-precision sensor data acquisition over the full temperature range - which could be beyond classical applications operating up to 125C. Based on recent semiconductor technologies, circuits are capable of operating at temperatures up to 300C. Increased temperature requirements for operation also affect the test equipment. In our example application we evaluate a sensor frontend ASIC for interfacing Wheatstone bridge sensors. Since this chip has to withstand temperatures up to 300C [1], an appropriate environment is required. We present a novel modular test platform based on an innovative high-temperature IC fixture as essential element [2]. This allows an easy modification of the test circuitry according to different test specifications. We tackled the challenge to create a platform that: - Separate the high-temperature domain from test and interface circuitry realized in standard electronics at room temperature - Integrates heating and temperature control to eliminate the need for a 'Thermostream' unit or external heaters - Allows for fast and simple change of the device under test (DUT) - Provides the modularity and flexibility to be used in future projects Due to the high temperature, we choose a ceramic package for the DUT. Our platform supports DIL (Dual In Line) packages with up to 48 pins. For wiring the DUT to the platform, the use of standard connectors is not possible since they do not comply with the demand for a temperature of 300C. We therefore developed a custom fixture based on an aluminum platform that connects the DUT with spring-loaded test probes [3]. In addition, it comprises the heating unit which drives the device from room-temperature up to 300C within six minutes. Due to the small size, it cools down passively with a time constant of about ten minutes. Beside this custom fixture, our test and characterization platform includes additional modules realizing the actual measurement cycle. These boards are designed using standard electronics and materials for industrial temperature range only. They can be adapted to the requirements of different use cases. We demonstrate our platform using a high-temperature sensor interface ASIC [1]. This chip realizes an advanced signal conditioning and transmission scheme for Wheatstone bridges used in pressure measurement applications. To evaluate the ASIC performance, we utilize the platform with additional modules like an FPGA board for signal processing. As a control unit, we use a standard single-board computer connected to the platform. It directs the measurement cycle, regulates the DUT temperature and provides a graphical interface to visualize the measurement data. In this scenario, our novel test and characterization platform provides a convenient way to evaluate our ASIC in a high temperature environment. The encapsulation of the high-temperature domain in the custom fixture enables the usage of standard electronics. This flexible and modular test system provides a portable solution for high temperature test cases.
Tom Reinhold,
IMMS Institut for Mikroelektronik- und Mechatronik-Systeme
Ilmenau, Thuringia

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