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Committee calls for industry-wide PA test

With a common existing accelerated qualification test providing inaccurate information, representatives from a variety of compound semiconductor companies are calling for input on a standard replacement.

Reliability scientists from across the power amplifier manufacturing industry are pushing for a universal qualification testing specification for laminate GaAs modules.

The members of JEDEC s JC-14.7 subcommittee for GaAs reliability and quality standards are now calling for additional input on how that test should look.

A first-draft standard will be discussed at CS Mantech, which will be held in Tampa, Florida, from May 18-21.

“We re definitely interested in finding anybody who has an interest in this,” said Bill Roesch, fellow for reliability science at PA maker TriQuint Semiconductor and JC-14.7 member.

Existing qualification tests, which are performed on the majority of laminate-overmolded PA modules to show that they are fit for use, vary widely in format.

Of even greater concern is that the fastest tests "“ developed for silicon "“ do not provide accurate information on GaAs components. Representatives from RF Micro Devices, TriQuint, M/A-Com Technology Solutions and other companies have agreed that this needs resolving.

The commonly used Highly Accelerated Stress Test, or HAST, heats a module to 130°C at 85 percent humidity under bias for 96 hours. “A 96 hour HAST test is actually much, much harder on our devices than it is on a silicon device because of the different failure mechanisms,” Roesch said.

As well as providing more accurate information, a widespread standard would streamline GaAs manufacturers qualification processes, reducing testing costs.

There is a strong case to be made to PA buyers as well, as the information emerging will be comparable across different suppliers product offerings.

The draft standard to be discussed in Tampa will specifically cover accelerated qualification testing, RF testing and problems unique to compound semiconductors.

If you have any suggestions to make about these issues prior to CS Mantech, contact Bill Roesch at bill.roesch@tqs.com.

• Roesch and Peter Ersland, chairman of the JEDEC JC-14.7 subcommittee will talk about the case for a uniform qualification standard in more detail in the April/May issue of Compound Semiconductor magazine.

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