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Embedded test circuits and methodologies for mixed-signal ICs Tabatabaei-Zavareh, Sassan

Abstract

The rapid pace of the integrated circuit industry towards more miniaturization is making system-on-chip (SOC) a reality. For practical implementations of SOC, however, the test issues of such devices must be addressed through the integration of design-for-testability (DFT), built-in self-test (BIST), and embedded test for embedded blocks, such as digital, memory, and mixed-signal circuits. This thesis presents two novel embedded test solutions for mixed-signal circuits. The first one is a built-in current monitor (BICM) suitable for power supply current (IDD) testing. The B I CM includes a built-in current sensor (BICS) which provides high measurement sensitivity without introducing a large impedance in the IDD path. Although the BICS structure has been proposed before, the new circuit analysis and chip measurement results provide important insights into the BICS characteristics and design trade-offs. The BICM also includes a mixed-signal built-in current integrator (BICI) which generates a digital signature proportional to the average IDD (IDD)- TWO different circuits have been developed for BICI: a single-phase and a double-phase BICI; the first is less accurate but requires less silicon area. These new BICI architectures offer an advantage over previously proposed circuits because they can perform integration over large time windows (T > 1 ms) while occupying a chip area equivalent to a only few hundred NAND gates. The BICM is compact, accurate (error < 2%), and insensitive to process and temperature variations. The second embedded test circuit is designed for non-intrusive functional testing of high-speed clock-recovery units (CRU) and clock-synthesis units (CSU). To the author's knowledge, this new structure is the first circuit which can perform on-chip, single-shot jitter measurement with high resolution and precision without requiring element matching. The simulation and analysis predict a jitter measurement resolution of 10ps and a precision of 11ps in a 0.35 μm CMOS technology under typical power supply and thermal noise conditions. Combined with a jitter generator block, it can test intrinsic jitter, and jitter transfer characteristics of CRUs and CSUs. The circuit is digital, partially synthesizable, and automatically placeable and routable. Novel gate delay model and analysis techniques, supported by simulation, are also introduced to evaluate the accuracy of the circuit.

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