Reliability assessment of integrated circuits and its misconception

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Reliability is a key success factor to Engineering products today, and the requirement for integrated circuit reliability is increasing due to increasing complexity of electronic products, market globalization and manufacturing outsourcing. This chapter illustrates the important of integrated circuit reliability and the rationale behind its "ridicules" requirement of more than 50 years. Reliability test is not new to the integrated circuit manufacturers. However, there are several seemingly intuitive concepts in the reliability tests and test data analyses that are being practice in the manufacturers today are incorrect and can lead to over-estimation of product reliability grossly. This chapter shows the different misconceptions in the common reliability practices of integrated circuits manufacturers with examples. The purpose of this chapter is to bring awareness of these misconceptions. All these misconceptions can be resolved with the proper use of reliability statistics which is beyond the scope of this chapter.

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Automotive Electronics is growing ever since the technological advancement has brought about a revolution in the Automotive Semiconductor and Telematics industry, especially in the past decade. Utilization of microelectronics and hence circuits' complexity is increasing continuously in automotive industry. Advancement in electronic technology increases the dominance of electronics in automotive markets, and reliability requirements for Automobile Electronics have grown over the past many years. However, the faults and rate of defects is also increasing as indicated by proportion of number of recalls made by large automobile companies, and this poses a difficult ‘Paradox’ to understand and curb. One of the reasons is that the increase in technological advancements makes the vehicles' system more complex and difficult to test for reliability. Also, operating parameters such as temperature, humidity, etc. are increasingly stringent with the continuous development of the electronic systems in vehicles. Short time to market and ineffective design for reliability methodology employed, including various misconceptions on reliability testing, have rendered a lag in providing components and systems that match the increasing reliability requirements for vehicles. Therefore, a call for greater effort in reliability understanding and systematic design for reliability methodology is essential if continuous engagement of advanced electronic technologies is to be continued. The transition from Mechanical Automotive system to Electronics Automotive system and its effect on the Automotive industry is discussed in this work. The fact that technological benefits are not helping in improving reliability of the Automotive Electronics system is explained by studying the worldwide automotive recalls and the Paradox of Automotive Electronics Reliability is presented and explained.
The evolution of reliability since the late 1940 till 2000s is described. This evolution mainly came from United States, and the evolution is from system level reliability and maintenance to components reliability through statistical methods. Exponential distribution was used initially, and it was found not realistic in the 60s. Physics of failure began in the 90s, and reliability evaluation was then shifted from statistical methods to physics of failure. Since 2000, the hybrid physics–statistical approach evolve due to the need to combine both of them in order to evaluate component and system reliability realistically. While reliability is evolving and maturing in USA, the concept of reliability was introduced to Asia only in the late 70s in the form of qualification as US manufacturers were shifting their production to Asia, and they needed to qualify the factories in Asia. Unfortunately, the growth of reliability methodology is very slow in Asia, and still many are using exponential distribution to evaluate reliability. On the other hand, physics of failure approach is growing fast in Asia, due probably to the need to troubleshoot failures manufactured in Asia. This chapter helps the readers to have a border view of reliability and the necessity for its evolution.
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