What Are Mixed-Signal ASIC Product and Test Engineers?
The job of a mixed-signal ASIC product and test engineer can be so rewarding. But it requires certain skills and working knowledge in testing high-speed digital and high-performance analog circuits.
What is mixed-signal ASIC?
Mixed-signal ASIC design is the combination of both analog and digital circuits placed on the same chip. So, this gives engineers the potential to reduce complex, multiple-integrated circuit designs into only a single integrated circuit.
The availability and commercial viability of mixed-signal ASIC makes it possible to gain certain benefits, such as the following.
- Reduction in cost
- Protection of intellectual property
- Improved reliability
- Low power consumption
- Improvement in performance
Analog and mixed-signal ASIC designs are both found in products in various segments of the market, from healthcare to cosmetics, industrial sensors to flight control, mobile devices to credit card scanners, as well as instrumentation.
A mixed-signal ASIC combines the competencies of analog and digital circuit design. Building such technology will require the following aspects.
- Analog-to-digital conversion using all methods in sigma-delta modulation
- Circuit design with linear circuits and techniques in switched-capacitor circuits
- Development of tests patterns, test procedures, and test structures for ASICs
- Low-power circuit design
- Mixed-signal ASIC design and modeling
What do product and test engineers do?
The responsibilities of a product and test engineer involve designing and implementing test solutions for analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits.
It is also their job to perform yield analysis, interface with design engineering and customers particularly on the use, testing, and problems in production.
The product test engineer also has duties and responsibilities which include the following.
- Development of test programs and write test plans for the validation of product performance
- Do product testing and log test results
- Analyze and track defects found after product testing
- Work with product teams for the development of test plans for new products
- Assist in the development of test protocols in anticipation of product performance
- Monitor and track status of test defects
- Determine the timing and cost needed to perform test programs
- Preparation of failure analysis report and implement corrective actions
- Recommendation of product design revisions on the basis of test data to achieve expected performance
- Determine the needs to conduct testing in terms of resources and equipment
- Development of manual and automated tools in order to increase the effectiveness of tests
- Development of best practices for the improvement of test quality
- Review of the technical architecture documents, design documents, and functional requirements to know any potential defects.
- Maintain accuracy of documents for executed test programs
- Investigation of test problems and implementation of solutions
Why is a mixed-signal ASIC engineer a good position?
Your job as a mixed-signal ASIC engineer is without a doubt quite rewarding. Aside from the good compensation, the mixed-signal ASIC engineer plays a major role in the lifecycle of a mixed-signal integrated circuit.
In the absence of mixed-signal ASIC technology, there will be the non-existence of portable electronic devices that you can use on a daily basis. After all, can you imagine a world without mobile phones, navigation systems, or MP3 players.
Overall, a mixed-signal ASIC engineer is a key contributor in the development of next-generation instruments with the purpose of cost reduction, efficiency, and low power consumption.
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