NI Brings Semiconductor ATE Digital Capability to PXI

Digital instrument delivers hardware and software features needed for smarter semiconductor test system development

AUSTIN, Texas — (BUSINESS WIRE) — August 2, 2016NIWeek – NI (Nasdaq: NATI), the provider of platform-based systems that enable engineers and scientists to solve the world’s greatest engineering challenges, today announced the NI PXIe-6570 digital pattern instrument and NI Digital Pattern Editor. This product frees manufacturers of RFICs, power management ICs, MEMS devices and mixed-signal ICs from the closed architectures of conventional semiconductor automated test equipment (ATE).

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The NI digital pattern instrument is a software-centric instrument used by semiconductor characteriz ...

The NI digital pattern instrument is a software-centric instrument used by semiconductor characterization and production test engineers to drive down their cost of test and ensure product quality (Photo: Business Wire)

The requirements of the latest semiconductor devices often outpace the test coverage traditional ATE provides. By bringing the digital test paradigm established in the semiconductor industry to the open PXI platform used in the Semiconductor Test System (STS), and advancing it with a powerful and user-friendly pattern editor and debugger, customers can take advantage of cutting-edge PXI instrumentation to help reduce test costs and increase throughput for RF and analog-centric ICs.

“The PXI Digital Pattern Instrument is a critical addition to STS because it gives semiconductor engineers all the digital capability they would otherwise expect to find only in high-end digital test platforms,” said Ron Wolfe, NI vice president of semiconductor test. “With this capability in PXI on a production floor, they can meet the price points and test requirements of cutting edge devices while easily scaling to other parts of their catalogs.”

The NI PXIe-6570 digital pattern instrument delivers the needed test capability for the ICs commonly found in the wireless device supply chain and Internet of Things devices at an economical price per pin. It features 100 MVector per second pattern execution with independent source and capture engines and voltage/current parametric functions at up to 256 synchronized digital pins in a single subsystem. Users can take advantage of the openness of PXI and the STS to add as many or as few devices as they need to meet the device pin and site counts required in the test configuration.

The new Digital Pattern Editor software integrates editing environments for device pin maps, specifications and patterns to develop test plans faster; built-in tools like multisite and multi-instrument pattern bursting to expand from development into production seamlessly; and tools like shmoo plots and an interactive pin view to debug and optimize tests more efficiently.

Performing characterization and production tests with the same PXI hardware and TestStand, LabVIEW and Digital Pattern Editor software decreases data correlation effort, which can help users decrease time to market. The small footprint of PXI hardware, inside or outside of an STS configuration, saves space on a production floor and can run from standard wall power on a characterization lab bench.

“PXI has proven itself as the rare combination of hardware and software that can successfully navigate both the production floor and the characterization lab,” continued Wolfe. “The NI digital pattern instrument and the Digital Pattern Editor represent important innovations to help device manufacturers and test houses lower the cost of test and improve test program development.”

Semiconductor companies are adopting NI’s platform and ecosystem to build smarter test systems. In addition to the production-ready STS series, 1 GHz-bandwidth vector signal transceivers, fA-class source measure units and TestStand Semiconductor Module, these systems benefit from more than 600 PXI products ranging from DC to mmWave. They feature high-throughput data movement using PCI Express Gen 3 bus interfaces and sub-nanosecond synchronization with integrated timing and triggering. Users can take advantage of the productivity of the LabVIEW and TestStand software environments, along with a vibrant ecosystem of partners, add-on IP and applications engineers, to lower the cost of test, reduce time to market and future-proof testers for tomorrow’s challenging RF and mixed-signal test requirements.

Read this whitepaper to explore how the PXI Digital Pattern Instrument delivers ATE-class digital to the industry-standard PXI platform.

To learn more about NI’s expanded semiconductor test capability, visit

About NI

Since 1976, NI ( has made it possible for engineers and scientists to solve the world’s greatest engineering challenges with powerful platform-based systems that accelerate productivity and drive rapid innovation. Customers from a wide variety of industries – from healthcare to automotive and from consumer electronics to particle physics – use NI’s integrated hardware and software platform to improve the world we live in.

LabVIEW, National Instruments, NI,, NI TestStand and NIWeek are trademarks of National Instruments. Other product and company names listed are trademarks or trade names of their respective companies.

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