Aehr Test Systems, a worldwide supplier of semiconductor test and reliability qualification equipment, today announced it has received orders for its proprietary WaferPak consumables totaling over $1.3 million from existing customers for their installed base of FOX multi-wafer test systems. The orders are for multiple new designs and ramp of volume production test of silicon carbide power semiconductors for electric and hybrid electric vehicles and silicon photonics devices for data center and 5G infrastructure fiber optic transceivers.
Gayn Erickson, President and CEO of Aehr Test Systems, commented, “We are pleased to report these orders for our WaferPak full wafer test and burn-in contactors, which include new designs as well as added production capacity from customers in the silicon carbide and silicon photonics segments.
“These orders reflect multiple new WaferPak design wins for volume production test of silicon carbide power semiconductors for electric and hybrid electric vehicles. Our WaferPaks, in combination with Aehr’s FOX-XP multi-wafer test and burn-in systems, have now been in production and qualified by automotive suppliers for full wafer test of silicon carbide power devices used in electric and hybrid electric vehicle power trains since early 2020. Multiple WaferPak designs that were previously shipped have now been qualified and are ramping in production. We anticipate new production capacity orders over the next year for systems and WaferPaks from our existing as well as new customers for production test and burn-in of silicon carbide devices.
“The silicon carbide semiconductor device market is growing very rapidly and is a new and exciting market opportunity for Aehr and our unique FOX wafer level test solutions. Silicon carbide is exceptionally well suited for high power and particularly high voltage power applications such as the needs of electric and hybrid electric vehicles power trains, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, IT/data center power supplies, and renewable energy power conversion such as wind and solar. Silicon carbide based power transistors used in the power conversion are much more efficient than other semiconductor materials and are extremely reliable. Many companies are making significant investments in silicon carbide and most car manufacturers making electric vehicles/hybrid electric vehicles are expected to use silicon carbide power devices in the near future.
“Interestingly, while silicon carbide is known for its high reliability, it is also well known in the industry to have high infant mortality rates. However, these defects can be completely removed after a reliability burn-in screening to provide extremely reliable devices for mission critical applications such electric vehicle power conversion. A critical capability that only Aehr’s solution can provide on the market today is the ability to test 100% of the die on a wafer in a single insertion before it is put into a single or multi-die package or module while providing 100% traceability of pass/fail results of each device including exactly what time during the test and burn-in cycle the devices failed. This is a critical feature that provides confidence to customers that they are removing all early life failures prior to shipment. Our systems are not only able to test 100% of their devices on 4”, 6”, 8” and 12” wafers, but we can test and burn-in 18 wafers at a time in a single FOX-XP system. By moving these tests to wafer, it saves the significant cost and impact of yield loss at the package or module level.
“We are also excited to see this new wave of capacity needs from our silicon photonics customers, and to see the resumption of orders to these customers for devices for data center and 5G infrastructure expansions that is driving the increased test capacity need. We continue to be very optimistic about the silicon photonics market, which is seeing increasing deployment of devices used in the expansion of bandwidth and infrastructure to meet the explosive growth of data center and 5G. Silicon photonics devices are highly integrated silicon based semiconductors that have embedded or integrated the non silicon based laser transmitters and receivers to enable a smaller, lower cost, higher reliable alternative to traditional fiber optic transceivers currently used in data center and telecommunication infrastructure.
“Silicon photonics devices all need to have their photonics transmitters stabilized under high power and temperature and customers also use our systems to screen for infant mortality of these devices to ensure high initial quality and long-term reliability. This is a manufacturing step done on 100% of the die, and in the case of silicon photonics we provide a much more cost effective and scalable solution for this step than doing this equivalent stabilization and screening after the die are put onto the final PCB substrate and package. Market research company Yole Dévelopement predicts the silicon photonics market will grow at a CAGR of 42% between 2019 and 2025 to a $3.6 billion annual market and we believe that the industry will transition to wafer level or singulated die for this critical manufacturing step, which is where our FOX-P products stand alone as the most cost effective solution for this and a portfolio of patents and IP in this area.
“We believe the electric vehicles market, the data storage and network infrastructure market, as well as multiple devices related to the worldwide 5G build-out are substantial new opportunities for our test and burn-in systems, where these end markets and customers require devices to have extremely high levels of quality and long-term reliability.
“Our customers purchase our proprietary WaferPak contactors not only with new systems orders, but also for their installed base of systems each time they have a change in their device design or add new devices to production. As we increase our installed base of FOX systems with current and new customers, particularly with our FOX-XP™ multi wafer systems, our consumables business will continue to grow in absolute value and as a percentage of our total sales. Over the long term, we expect to see as much as 50 percent of our total annual revenue to come from consumables as our systems business continues to grow,” Mr. Erickson concluded.
The FOX-XP system, available with multiple WaferPak™ Contactors (full wafer test) or multiple DiePak™ Carriers (singulated die/module test) configurations, is capable of functional test and burn-in/cycling of integrated devices such as silicon carbide power devices, silicon photonics as well as other optical devices, 2D and 3D sensors, flash memories, Gallium Nitride (GaN), magnetic sensors, microcontrollers, and other leading-edge ICs in either wafer formfactor, before they are assembled into single or multi-die stacked packages, or in singulated die or module formfactor.