Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Wilfrido Moreno, Ph.D.


Software-defined instrumentation, National Instruments, Semiconductor, Failure Analysis, Diode


There are various types of test performed on Integrated Circuits, (IC), for detecting and locating defects and faults during failure analysis. Functional, logic, parametric and IDDQ tests are among the most common. Functional IC tests are designed to verify whether the IC performs its intended function. Logic tests verify the logic operation of gates and registers. AC and DC parametric tests are used to measure time, voltage and current-varying parameters associated with the operational limits of the IC. Test parameters in parametric testing include, among others, propagation delay, operating current and signals rise and fall time. Currently, almost all ICs are manufactured or refurbished in Asia. A greater portion of the ICs are processed in China and Malaysia.

Presently issues with component reliability are compromised since the ICs are not tested before they leave the factory, are sometimes only remarked with different part numbers and date codes or resold even though they do not work properly. These activities lead to a high level of uncertainty among consumers all over the world. The purpose of this research was the design of a software-defined semiconductor validation test system using the PCI eXtension for Instrumentation, (PXI), platform. The test system was to be capable of performing Open and Short Circuit Tests for CMOS components. Open and Short Circuit Tests verify for faults at the protection diode circuitry of CMOS chips level. The test system reduces the overall test timing compared to the tests performed by a functional instrument such as a curve tracer. PXI is a modular instrumentation platform originally introduced in 1997 by National Instruments, (NI). PXI is an open, PC-based platform for test, measurement and control.

PXI possesses the highest bandwidth and lowest latency with modular inputs and outputs for high-resolution from DC to RF frequencies. PXI was designed for measurement and automation applications that require high-performance. Concepts associated with the Systems of Systems Engineering, (SoSE), approach were applied to this research in order to facilitate the design process for the test system. The objective was to apply Systems Engineering methodologies to the design of this particular test system.