High-power RF ports expand the capability of the STS for the latest RF front-end modules

Bengaluru, India – September 16, 2016 NI, the provider of platform-based systems that enable engineers and scientists to solve the world’s greatest engineering challenges, today 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.”

Introduced in 2014, the STS offers a fundamentally different approach to semiconductor production test that is based on the NI platform and ecosystem that engineers use to build smarter test systems. This platform now includes 1 GHz-bandwidth vector signal transceivers, fA-class source measure units, the industry-leading commercial-off-the-shelf test management software, TestStand Semiconductor Module, and more than 600 PXI products ranging from DC to mmWave. Additional features include 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 help dramatically lower the cost of test, reduce time to market and future-proof testers for tomorrow’s challenging requirements.

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