NI lowers semiconductor test cost with RF measurement enhancements

National Instruments (NI), the provider of platform-based systems that enable engineers and scientists to solve the engineering challenges, announced new RF capabilities for higher power transmit and receive, and FPGA-based real-time envelope tracking and digital predistortion for the Semiconductor Test System (STS).

The latest in a series of STS enhancements, the high-power RF ports help manufacturers of RF front-end modules meet the expanded test requirements of RFICs and other smart devices while simultaneously helping to reduce cost. Because the RF ports exist in a fully integrated tester with the STS, RF test development time and cost may be decreased without sacrificing measurement accuracy or performance. Additionally, this integrated system eliminates the need for costly, bolt-on RF subsystems as required with traditional automated test equipment (ATE).

As more components become integrated into RF front-end modules and as new wideband wireless standards increase the peak-to-average power ratio, manufacturers of these devices require higher power RF measurement capability. The new RF ports for the STS can transmit at +38 dBm and receive at +40 dBm at the RF blind mates, which is an industry-leading capability not available in any other commercial solution. In addition, the STS can now perform 26 GHz S-parameter measurements, FPGA-based envelope tracking and FPGA-based digital predistortion, with fully-featured software. These features make the STS an ideal production test solution for next generation RFICs.

“We continue to disrupt semiconductor ATE by giving manufacturers of RF and mixed-signal devices smarter alternatives,” said Ron Wolfe, NI vice president of semiconductor test. “The open, modular architecture of the STS helps customers to preserve their capital investments while giving them access to the latest commercial technology so they can evolve their test capabilities at the rate of change of their devices under test.”

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