In the summer of 2012 Hans joined ICsense as a layout engineer having gained a master’s degree in industrial science and chip design from KH Limburg. Hans, with a background in electronic test, soon found himself looking after test development – an increasingly important role within ICsense.
WHAT INSPIRED YOUR INTEREST IN IC DESIGN?
Like several employees, as a teenager my introduction to electronics came from an interest in music. I built strobe lighting systems and as a guitarist, I started to experiment with designing my own electronic effects. This kicked off an interest in signal path design and then onto digital system design during my university studies.
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT DESIGN FOCUS?
I am in a unique position. I joined ICsense as a layout engineer, but after 6 months moved into test development. As device complexity increases, testing grows in importance both for ICsense and the wider industry. Test development is a critical part of design, ultimately ensuring that circuits can be manufactured cost effectively.
Testing may appear to happen externally to the device, but there’s a lot of collaboration required throughout the design process. A good design for test (DFT) approach positively influences the ASIC production cost, so my role has an important impact on the final unit cost.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE ICSENSE?
ICsense has an excellent employer reputation in Belgium and is involved in a lot of really exciting areas. I was first made aware of the company when working with another technology firm nearby. It was only a matter of time before I would feel the gravitational pull.
WHAT STANDS OUT ABOUT ICSENSE AS AN EMPLOYER?
There’s a powerful sense of purpose here amongst employees which you can’t miss. The quality of management and the way work is organised really stands out. In previous jobs, I have experienced management detachment. That’s simply not the case at ICsense. Here we have a flat hierarchy and a feeling of equality. You know that we’re all in this together.
WHAT IS YOUR TYPICAL WORK DAY LIKE?
My activities range from developing prototype silicon test plans to setting up and programming pre-production test benches. In some cases volume testing is sub-contracted to third parties, and I liaise with those partners to ensure the smooth ramp-up of our new ASICs.
I get involved in project planning meetings when we are considering specific test challenges on individual projects. Finally of course, I also maintain our bench test lab.