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iNU Semiconductor – Bring-Up

All Hail the Product Engineer

The Bring Up stage of the semiconductor development process is often carried out by Product Engineers. The people at 3 NRIT summarised the role of the Product Engineer in the diagram opposite, as you can see this is a very varied an important area for product development.

Many of these steps are carried out in the lab, using various pieces of hardware for taking measurements and will most probably be controlled by some kind of custom build software.

Our approach to this process is to use a standard hardware platform along with code that is built to be re-useable. The reason for this is simple, having a standard platform means only one type of connection (often Ethernet) and allows hardware to be easily shared between lab desks. Building code to be re-useable means that after 2 or 3 products have passed through the department, you could have around 80% of the code already written, ready and waiting for product number 4.

Bring Up PE
Below are some examples of the hardware commonly found in a characterisation lab and some of the tests carried out by the engineers working to validate the design.


Voltage Source

A voltage source is used to control the supply voltage to the DUT, modern devices have various inbuilt functionality that allow testing to be semi automated.

Current Source

A current source is used to control the supply current to the DUT, modern devices have various inbuilt functionality that allow testing to be semi automated.


Used to view signals from the DUT, such as output waveforms and frequency values

Digital Pattern Generator

Digital patterns are often used to set memory location values that alter the device behaviour, these devices can send preprogrammed sequences as part of the testing process

Thermal Chambers

Thermal chambers are used to simulate extreme conditions to test the DUT, this can be high levels of humidity, high temperatures and freezing conditions.

Test Types

Current Sweep


Voltage Sweep


Frequency Sweep


Memory Retention







The one size fits all approach of standardised testing is convenient but lazy

– Sir James Dyson