What is AEC-Q101?

AEC-Q101 is a specification that defines the minimum stress test-driven qualification requirements and references test conditions for discrete semiconductors used in automotive applications. This specification was developed by the Automotive Electronics Council (AEC), an organization that establishes common part-qualification and quality-system standards.

Scope and Purpose

The purpose of AEC-Q101 is to determine if a discrete semiconductor device is capable of passing a defined set of stress tests to ensure a specified quality and reliability level for automotive applications. The specification outlines the minimum stress test-driven qualification requirements and does not relieve the supplier of their responsibility to meet their own internal qualification program or any additional user requirements outside the scope of AEC-Q101.

AEC-Q101 applies to discrete semiconductors such as transistors, diodes, and other non-integrated circuit devices used in automotive electronics. The minimum ambient temperature range for these devices is -40°C to +125°C, except for LEDs, which have a minimum range of -40°C to +85°C.

Document Structure

The AEC-Q101 document is structured into several main sections:

  1. General requirements
  2. Qualification and requalification
  3. Qualification tests
  4. Data submission format

The general requirements section outlines the objective, precedence of requirements, and the use of generic data to satisfy qualification and requalification requirements. It also defines test samples, failure criteria, and acceptance criteria.

The qualification and requalification section describes the process for qualifying a new device, requalifying a changed device, and the criteria for passing requalification. It also outlines the requirements for end-user approval.

The qualification tests section defines the general and device-specific tests that must be performed for qualification. These tests include various stress tests such as high-temperature reverse bias, temperature cycling, and electrostatic discharge characterization.

The data submission format section specifies how the qualification test data should be presented, including the use of an environmental test summary and parametric verification summary.

Appendices and Attachments

AEC-Q101 includes several appendices that provide additional information and guidance:

  1. Definition of a qualification family
  2. Certification of design, construction, and qualification
  3. Qualification test plan
  4. Data presentation format
  5. Minimum parametric test requirements

The document also includes attachments that describe specific test methods:

  1. Human Body Model (HBM) Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Test
  2. Machine Model (MM) Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Test
  3. Wire Bond Shear Test
  4. Miscellaneous Test Methods
  5. Charged Device Model (CDM) Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Test


AEC-Q101 is a comprehensive specification that outlines the stress test qualification requirements for discrete semiconductors used in automotive applications. By following this specification, suppliers can ensure that their devices meet the necessary quality and reliability standards for the demanding automotive environment. Engineers working with automotive electronics should be familiar with AEC-Q101 and its requirements to select and qualify appropriate discrete semiconductor components for their designs.