John K. Kibarian, President & CEO
John K. Kibarian, Ph.D., President, CEO, Director, and Co-founder of PDF Solutions, Inc. reckons that it’s not the device design itself per se that is the problem in Integrated Circuit (IC) manufacturing, rather the problem lies in how the design interacts with the manufacturing process. “The solution lies in how the chip manufacturers glean vital data from across the entire manufacturing flow and send it back to the designers, so they can learn from that when they design the next device.” But what he observed is that the data coming out of the factories was inadequate to build production control strategies or predict product outcomes. To address this need, PDF Solutions not only captures post-manufacturing data, but adds data from both design and manufacturing, which is then fed into the company’s analytics software to build models that aim to improve chip designs and exercise better control over manufacturing.
With two-and-a-half decades of experience in IC manufacturing industry, PDF Solutions has developed proprietary products and solutions that enable customers to reduce time-to-market, lower the cost of IC design and manufacturing, and improve profitability. PDF Solutions’ Exensio®
technology is a big data analytic platform that provides tools and actionable information that are necessary to analyze and report critical data, generated across the semiconductor environment. This technology is deployed in clean rooms (fabs), test floors, assembly and packaging facilities, and captures most of the data types, generated across the entire organization—including yield data, process tool data, manufacturing data and many others. The garnered data is analyzed using Exensio —Yield. Further, Exensio —Control is designed to help manufacturers accurately detect and identify process or tool problems that arise during production, in real-time. Finally, Exensio —Test module supports test floor operations as well as adaptive test and analysis technology. “The Exensio Platform was created to empower designers and manufacturers to analyze, detect and address yield challenges in real time, as well as meet customers’ manufacturing goals,” asserts Kibarian.
The Exensio® Platform was created to empower designers and manufacturers to analyze, detect, and address yield challenges in real time, as well as meet customers’ manufacturing goals
In addition, the company’s products and services include proprietary test structures and electrical test systems, collectively known as Characterization Vehicle®
Infrastructure, which provides core diagnostic capabilities. With the help of this infrastructure, IC manufacturers have achieved faster time-to-qualification, quicker yield ramp through volume production, and higher yields at mature production with less variability. “Our Characterization Vehicle Infrastructure identifies sources of systematic and random yield loss mechanisms in a much more efficient manner,” states Kibarian.
With its innovative products and solutions, PDF Solutions has been helping its clients realize hundreds of millions of dollars in cost savings and incremental revenue. For instance, one of their customers, Fairchild—a power management IC and semiconductor company, now part of ON Semiconductor—adopted PDF Solutions’ Exensio platform to enhance their operational efficiency and productivity, while maintaining high quality. By deploying Exensio —Test module, Fairchild was able to significantly improve their test operations efficiency and first pass yield using the Exensio dashboarding capability. By leveraging the existing Exensio —Yield installation and focusing on integrating new and existing components of the Exensio — Test module, they were able to improve their facility production by up to 20 percent in a short period of time.
With numerous such success stories, PDF Solutions is on a mission to deliver solutions that help IC manufacturers become more competitive. “We look forward to providing a variety of ground breaking software solutions and also gaining more insights into analytics to help semiconductor manufacturing companies enhance the use of information systems in controlling and managing their businesses,” concludes Kibarian.