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Aging predictive models and simulation methods for analog and mixed-signal circuits

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Negative bias temperature instability (NBTI) and channel hot carrier (CHC) are important reliability issues impacting analog circuit performance and lifetime. Compact reliability models and efficient simulation methods are essential for circuit level reliability prediction. This work proposes a set of

Negative bias temperature instability (NBTI) and channel hot carrier (CHC) are important reliability issues impacting analog circuit performance and lifetime. Compact reliability models and efficient simulation methods are essential for circuit level reliability prediction. This work proposes a set of compact models of NBTI and CHC effects for analog and mixed-signal circuit, and a direct prediction method which is different from conventional simulation methods. This method is applied in circuit benchmarks and evaluated. This work helps with improving efficiency and accuracy of circuit aging prediction.

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2011

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Energy and quality-aware multimedia signal processing

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Today's mobile devices have to support computation-intensive multimedia applications with a limited energy budget. In this dissertation, we present architecture level and algorithm-level techniques that reduce energy consumption of these devices with minimal impact on system quality. First, we present

Today's mobile devices have to support computation-intensive multimedia applications with a limited energy budget. In this dissertation, we present architecture level and algorithm-level techniques that reduce energy consumption of these devices with minimal impact on system quality. First, we present novel techniques to mitigate the effects of SRAM memory failures in JPEG2000 implementations operating in scaled voltages. We investigate error control coding schemes and propose an unequal error protection scheme tailored for JPEG2000 that reduces overhead without affecting the performance. Furthermore, we propose algorithm-specific techniques for error compensation that exploit the fact that in JPEG2000 the discrete wavelet transform outputs have larger values for low frequency subband coefficients and smaller values for high frequency subband coefficients. Next, we present use of voltage overscaling to reduce the data-path power consumption of JPEG codecs. We propose an algorithm-specific technique which exploits the characteristics of the quantized coefficients after zig-zag scan to mitigate errors introduced by aggressive voltage scaling. Third, we investigate the effect of reducing dynamic range for datapath energy reduction. We analyze the effect of truncation error and propose a scheme that estimates the mean value of the truncation error during the pre-computation stage and compensates for this error. Such a scheme is very effective for reducing the noise power in applications that are dominated by additions and multiplications such as FIR filter and transform computation. We also present a novel sum of absolute difference (SAD) scheme that is based on most significant bit truncation. The proposed scheme exploits the fact that most of the absolute difference (AD) calculations result in small values, and most of the large AD values do not contribute to the SAD values of the blocks that are selected. Such a scheme is highly effective in reducing the energy consumption of motion estimation and intra-prediction kernels in video codecs. Finally, we present several hybrid energy-saving techniques based on combination of voltage scaling, computation reduction and dynamic range reduction that further reduce the energy consumption while keeping the performance degradation very low. For instance, a combination of computation reduction and dynamic range reduction for Discrete Cosine Transform shows on average, 33% to 46% reduction in energy consumption while incurring only 0.5dB to 1.5dB loss in PSNR.

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2012

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45-nm radiation hardened cache design

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Circuits on smaller technology nodes become more vulnerable to radiation-induced upset. Since this is a major problem for electronic circuits used in space applications, designers have a variety of solutions in hand. Radiation hardening by design (RHBD) is an approach,

Circuits on smaller technology nodes become more vulnerable to radiation-induced upset. Since this is a major problem for electronic circuits used in space applications, designers have a variety of solutions in hand. Radiation hardening by design (RHBD) is an approach, where electronic components are designed to work properly in certain radiation environments without the use of special fabrication processes. This work focuses on the cache design for a high performance microprocessor. The design tries to mitigate radiation effects like SEE, on a commercial foundry 45 nm SOI process. The design has been ported from a previously done cache design at the 90 nm process node. The cache design is a 16 KB, 4 way set associative, write-through design that uses a no-write allocate policy. The cache has been tested to write and read at above 2 GHz at VDD = 0.9 V. Interleaved layout, parity protection, dual redundancy, and checking circuits are used in the design to achieve radiation hardness. High speed is accomplished through the use of dynamic circuits and short wiring routes wherever possible. Gated clocks and optimized wire connections are used to reduce power. Structured methodology is used to build up the entire cache.

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2012

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Scalable surface-potential-based compact model of high-voltage LDMOS transistors

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Lateral Double-diffused (LDMOS) transistors are commonly used in power management, high voltage/current, and RF circuits. Their characteristics include high breakdown voltage, low on-resistance, and compatibility with standard CMOS and BiCMOS manufacturing processes. As with other semiconductor devices, an accurate and

Lateral Double-diffused (LDMOS) transistors are commonly used in power management, high voltage/current, and RF circuits. Their characteristics include high breakdown voltage, low on-resistance, and compatibility with standard CMOS and BiCMOS manufacturing processes. As with other semiconductor devices, an accurate and physical compact model is critical for LDMOS-based circuit design. The goal of this research work is to advance the state-of-the-art by developing a physics-based scalable compact model of LDMOS transistors. The new model, SP-HV, is constructed from a surface-potential-based bulk MOSFET model, PSP, and a nonlinear resistor model, R3. The use of independently verified and mature sub-models leads to increased accuracy and robustness of an overall LDMOS model. Improved geometry scaling and simplified statistical modeling are other useful and practical consequences of the approach. Extensions are made to both PSP and R3 for improved modeling of LDMOS devices, and one internal node is introduced to connect the two component models. The presence of the lightly-doped drift region in LDMOS transistors causes some characteristic device effects which are usually not observed in conventional MOSFETs. These include quasi-saturation, a sharp peak in transconductance at low VD, gate capacitance exceeding oxide capacitance at positive VD, negative transcapacitances CBG and CGB at positive VD, a "double-hump" IB(VG) current and expansion effects. SP-HV models these effects accurately. It also includes a scalable self-heating model which is important to model the geometry dependence of the expansion effect. SP-HV, including its scalability, is verified extensively by comparison both to TCAD simulations and experimental data. The close agreement confirms the validity of the model structure. Circuit simulation examples are presented to demonstrate its convergence.

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2012

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Efficient test strategies for Analog/RF circuits

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Test cost has become a significant portion of device cost and a bottleneck in high volume manufacturing. Increasing integration density and shrinking feature sizes increased test time/cost and reduce observability. Test engineers have to put a tremendous effort in order

Test cost has become a significant portion of device cost and a bottleneck in high volume manufacturing. Increasing integration density and shrinking feature sizes increased test time/cost and reduce observability. Test engineers have to put a tremendous effort in order to maintain test cost within an acceptable budget. Unfortunately, there is not a single straightforward solution to the problem. Products that are tested have several application domains and distinct customer profiles. Some products are required to operate for long periods of time while others are required to be low cost and optimized for low cost. Multitude of constraints and goals make it impossible to find a single solution that work for all cases. Hence, test development/optimization is typically design/circuit dependent and even process specific. Therefore, test optimization cannot be performed using a single test approach, but necessitates a diversity of approaches. This works aims at addressing test cost minimization and test quality improvement at various levels. In the first chapter of the work, we investigate pre-silicon strategies, such as design for test and pre-silicon statistical simulation optimization. In the second chapter, we investigate efficient post-silicon test strategies, such as adaptive test, adaptive multi-site test, outlier analysis, and process shift detection/tracking.

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2012

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Improving the reliability of NAND Flash, phase-change RAM and spin-torque transfer RAM

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Non-volatile memories (NVM) are widely used in modern electronic devices due to their non-volatility, low static power consumption and high storage density. While Flash memories are the dominant NVM technology, resistive memories such as phase change access memory (PRAM) and

Non-volatile memories (NVM) are widely used in modern electronic devices due to their non-volatility, low static power consumption and high storage density. While Flash memories are the dominant NVM technology, resistive memories such as phase change access memory (PRAM) and spin torque transfer random access memory (STT-MRAM) are gaining ground. All these technologies suffer from reliability degradation due to process variations, structural limits and material property shift. To address the reliability concerns of these NVM technologies, multi-level low cost solutions are proposed for each of them. My approach consists of first building a comprehensive error model. Next the error characteristics are exploited to develop low cost multi-level strategies to compensate for the errors. For instance, for NAND Flash memory, I first characterize errors due to threshold voltage variations as a function of the number of program/erase cycles. Next a flexible product code is designed to migrate to a stronger ECC scheme as program/erase cycles increases. An adaptive data refresh scheme is also proposed to improve memory reliability with low energy cost for applications with different data update frequencies. For PRAM, soft errors and hard errors models are built based on shifts in the resistance distributions. Next I developed a multi-level error control approach involving bit interleaving and subblock flipping at the architecture level, threshold resistance tuning at the circuit level and programming current profile tuning at the device level. This approach helped reduce the error rate significantly so that it was now sufficient to use a low cost ECC scheme to satisfy the memory reliability constraint. I also studied the reliability of a PRAM+DRAM hybrid memory system and analyzed the tradeoffs between memory performance, programming energy and lifetime. For STT-MRAM, I first developed an error model based on process variations. I developed a multi-level approach to reduce the error rates that consisted of increasing the W/L ratio of the access transistor, increasing the voltage difference across the memory cell and adjusting the current profile during write operation. This approach enabled use of a low cost BCH based ECC scheme to achieve very low block failure rates.

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2014

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Programmable analog device array (PANDA): transistor-level analog emulation

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The design and development of analog/mixed-signal (AMS) integrated circuits (ICs) is becoming increasingly expensive, complex, and lengthy. Rapid prototyping and emulation of analog ICs will be significant in the design and testing of complex analog systems. A new approach, Programmable

The design and development of analog/mixed-signal (AMS) integrated circuits (ICs) is becoming increasingly expensive, complex, and lengthy. Rapid prototyping and emulation of analog ICs will be significant in the design and testing of complex analog systems. A new approach, Programmable ANalog Device Array (PANDA) that maps any AMS design problem to a transistor-level programmable hardware, is proposed. This approach enables fast system level validation and a reduction in post-Silicon bugs, minimizing design risk and cost. The unique features of the approach include 1) transistor-level programmability that emulates each transistor behavior in an analog design, achieving very fine granularity of reconfiguration; 2) programmable switches that are treated as a design component during analog transistor emulating, and optimized with the reconfiguration matrix; 3) compensation of AC performance degradation through boosting the bias current. Based on these principles, a digitally controlled PANDA platform is designed at 45nm node that can map AMS modules across 22nm to 90nm technology nodes. A systematic emulation approach to map any analog transistor to 45nm PANDA cell is proposed, which achieves transistor level matching accuracy of less than 5% for ID and less than 10% for Rout and Gm. Circuit level analog metrics of a voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) emulated by PANDA, match to those of the original designs in 22nm and 90nm nodes with less than a 5% error. Several other 90nm and 22nm analog blocks are successfully emulated by the 45nm PANDA platform, including a folded-cascode operational amplifier and a sample-and-hold module (S/H). Further capabilities of PANDA are demonstrated by the first full-chip silicon of PANDA which is implemented on 65nm process This system consists of a 24×25 cell array, reconfigurable interconnect and configuration memory. The voltage and current reference circuits, op amps and a VCO with a phase interpolation circuit are emulated by PANDA.

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2013

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Integrated inductors with micro-patterned magnetic thin films for RF and power applications

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With increasing demand for System on Chip (SoC) and System in Package (SiP) design in computer and communication technologies, integrated inductor which is an essential passive component has been widely used in numerous integrated circuits (ICs) such as in voltage

With increasing demand for System on Chip (SoC) and System in Package (SiP) design in computer and communication technologies, integrated inductor which is an essential passive component has been widely used in numerous integrated circuits (ICs) such as in voltage regulators and RF circuits. In this work, soft ferromagnetic core material, amorphous Co-Zr-Ta-B, was incorporated into on-chip and in-package inductors in order to scale down inductors and improve inductors performance in both inductance density and quality factor. With two layers of 500 nm Co-Zr-Ta-B films a 3.5X increase in inductance and a 3.9X increase in quality factor over inductors without magnetic films were measured at frequencies as high as 1 GHz. By laminating technology, up to 9.1X increase in inductance and more than 5X increase in quality factor (Q) were obtained from stripline inductors incorporated with 50 nm by 10 laminated films with a peak Q at 300 MHz. It was also demonstrated that this peak Q can be pushed towards high frequency as far as 1GHz by a combination of patterning magnetic films into fine bars and laminations. The role of magnetic vias in magnetic flux and eddy current control was investigated by both simulation and experiment using different patterning techniques and by altering the magnetic via width. Finger-shaped magnetic vias were designed and integrated into on-chip RF inductors improving the frequency of peak quality factor from 400 MHz to 800 MHz without sacrificing inductance enhancement. Eddy current and magnetic flux density in different areas of magnetic vias were analyzed by HFSS 3D EM simulation. With optimized magnetic vias, high frequency response of up to 2 GHz was achieved. Furthermore, the effect of applied magnetic field on on-chip inductors was investigated for high power applications. It was observed that as applied magnetic field along the hard axis (HA) increases, inductance maintains similar value initially at low fields, but decreases at larger fields until the magnetic films become saturated. The high frequency quality factor showed an opposite trend which is correlated to the reduction of ferromagnetic resonant absorption in the magnetic film. In addition, experiments showed that this field-dependent inductance change varied with different patterned magnetic film structures, including bars/slots and fingers structures. Magnetic properties of Co-Zr-Ta-B films on standard organic package substrates including ABF and polyimide were also characterized. Effects of substrate roughness and stress were analyzed and simulated which provide strategies for integrating Co-Zr-Ta-B into package inductors and improving inductors performance. Stripline and spiral inductors with Co-Zr-Ta-B films were fabricated on both ABF and polyimide substrates. Maximum 90% inductance increase in hundreds MHz frequency range were achieved in stripline inductors which are suitable for power delivery applications. Spiral inductors with Co-Zr-Ta-B films showed 18% inductance increase with quality factor of 4 at frequency up to 3 GHz.

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2013

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RRAM-based PUF: design and applications in cryptography

Description

The recent flurry of security breaches have raised serious concerns about the security of data communication and storage. A promising way to enhance the security of the system is through physical root of trust, such as, through use of physical

The recent flurry of security breaches have raised serious concerns about the security of data communication and storage. A promising way to enhance the security of the system is through physical root of trust, such as, through use of physical unclonable functions (PUF). PUF leverages the inherent randomness in physical systems to provide device specific authentication and encryption.

In this thesis, first the design of a highly reliable resistive random access memory (RRAM) PUF is presented. Compared to existing 1 cell/bit RRAM, here the sum of the read-out currents of multiple RRAM cells are used for generating one response bit. This method statistically minimizes any early-lifetime failure due to RRAM retention degradation at high temperature or under voltage stress. Using a device model that was calibrated using IMEC HfOx RRAM experimental data, it was shown that an 8 cells/bit architecture achieves 99.9999% reliability for a lifetime >10 years at 125℃ . Also, the hardware area overhead of the proposed 8 cells/bit RRAM PUF architecture was smaller than 1 cell/bit RRAM PUF that requires error correction coding to achieve the same reliability.

Next, a basic security primitive is presented, where the RRAM PUF is embedded in the cryptographic module, SHA-256. This architecture is referred to as Embedded PUF or EPUF. EPUF has a security advantage over SHA-256 as it never exposes the PUF response to the outside world. Instead, in each round, the PUF response is used to change a few bits of the message word to produce a unique message digest for each IC. The use of EPUF as a key generation module for AES is also shown. The hardware area requirement for SHA-256 and AES-128 is then analyzed using synthesis results based on TSMC 65nm library. It is shown that the area overhead of 8 cells/bit RRAM PUF is only 1.08% of the SHA-256 module and 0.04% of the AES-128 module. The security analysis of the PUF based systems is also presented. It is shown that the EPUF-based systems are resistant towards standard attacks on PUFs, and that the security of the cryptographic modules is not compromised.

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2015

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Radiation hardened clock design

Description

Clock generation and distribution are essential to CMOS microchips, providing synchronization to external devices and between internal sequential logic. Clocks in microprocessors are highly vulnerable to single event effects and designing reliable energy efficient clock networks for mission critical applications

Clock generation and distribution are essential to CMOS microchips, providing synchronization to external devices and between internal sequential logic. Clocks in microprocessors are highly vulnerable to single event effects and designing reliable energy efficient clock networks for mission critical applications is a major challenge. This dissertation studies the basics of radiation hardening, essentials of clock design and impact of particle strikes on clocks in detail and presents design techniques for hardening complete clock systems in digital ICs.

Since the sequential elements play a key role in deciding the robustness of any clocking strategy, hardened-by-design implementations of triple-mode redundant (TMR) pulse clocked latches and physical design methodologies for using TMR master-slave flip-flops in application specific ICs (ASICs) are proposed. A novel temporal pulse clocked latch design for low power radiation hardened applications is also proposed. Techniques for designing custom RHBD clock distribution networks (clock spines) and ASIC clock trees for a radiation hardened microprocessor using standard CAD tools are presented. A framework for analyzing the vulnerabilities of clock trees in general, and study the parameters that contribute the most to the tree’s failure, including impact on controlled latches is provided. This is then used to design an integrated temporally redundant clock tree and pulse clocked flip-flop based clocking scheme that is robust to single event transients (SETs) and single event upsets (SEUs). Subsequently, designing robust clock delay lines for use in double data rate (DDRx) memory applications is studied in detail. Several modules of the proposed radiation hardened all-digital delay locked loop are designed and studied. Many of the circuits proposed in this entire body of work have been implemented and tested on a standard low-power 90-nm process.

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Date Created
2015