Nextest Enters the CMOS Image Sensor Test-Equipment Market

SAN JOSE, CA /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Nextest Systems Corp., a leading manufacturer of automatic test equipment (ATE) for cost-sensitive semiconductors, announced the newest member of its Magnum product line of testers, Magnum iCP. Focused on the CMOS image sensor (CIS) device market, Magnum iCP offers CIS manufacturers a high level of efficiency and capacity required to test these devices in volume.

With the rapid growth in digital-imaging cell phones and still cameras, CISs are making great strides as the leading technology in the image sensor device market. Due to the leveraged power, integration, and cost benefits associated with CMOS technology, CMOS image sensors are finding their way into a myriad of applications, ranging from Web cams and PDAs to digital imaging phones and still cameras. Automotive, medical, and robotics are all exploring new ways to incorporate these devices into their next-generation products. Along with this mass-market consumption, ATE manufacturers are challenged to find alternative test approaches to increase capacity while decreasing test times and the cost to test these devices.

Nextest has addressed this challenge with their new Magnum iCP, which integrates logic test capability with optimized image capture and analysis hardware. A high-quality light source (illuminator) and a contemporary wafer probing system provide users with a complete solution for probing up to 40 256-mega pixel CIS devices in parallel. This is the highest number of CIS devices being tested in parallel today.

Tim Moriarty, Nextest's vice president of sales and marketing, commented, "The Magnum iCP system was developed in collaboration with key customers. It responds to their need for a cost-effective, high-volume test solution for this rapidly growing marketplace. By utilizing the proven performance of our Magnum product line, we were able to develop a production-worthy test solution in a relatively short time and at a very attractive price."

The Magnum iCP can capture pixel data at 100 MHz with up to 14 bits per pixel. The image capture RAM can hold up to 64 image planes. Each of the 40 devices under test has its own image processor, thus providing users with an efficient, high-throughput test solution. Magnum iCP systems are available with prices starting at approximately $200,000, depending on their configuration.

About Nextest
Nextest Systems Corp. is a low-cost leader in the design and manufacture of ATE for flash memory and system-on-chip semiconductors. Nextest's products address the growing demand from manufacturers for ATE with increased throughput, functionality and reliability, while reducing time to market and cost of test. Nextest has shipped over 1600 systems to more than 60 semiconductor companies worldwide. Further information is available on the company's Web site.

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