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Analysis, design, simulation, and measurements of flexible high impedance surfaces

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High Impedance Surfaces (HISs), which have been investigated extensively, have proven to be very efficient ground planes for low profile antenna applications due to their unique reflection phase characteristics. Another emerging research field among the microwave and antenna technologies is

High Impedance Surfaces (HISs), which have been investigated extensively, have proven to be very efficient ground planes for low profile antenna applications due to their unique reflection phase characteristics. Another emerging research field among the microwave and antenna technologies is the design of flexible antennas and microwave circuits to be utilized in conformal applications. The combination of those two research topics gives birth to a third one, namely the design of Conformal or Flexible HISs (FHISs), which is the main subject of this dissertation. The problems associated with the FHISs are twofold: characterization and physical realization. The characterization involves the analysis of scattering properties of FHISs in the presence of plane wave and localized sources. For this purpose, an approximate analytical method is developed to characterize the reflection properties of a cylindrically curved FHIS. The effects of curvature on the reflection phase of the curved FHISs are examined. Furthermore, the effects of different types of currents, specifically the ones inherent to finite sized periodic structures, on the reflection phase characteristics are observed. After the reflection phase characterization of curved HISs, the performance of dipole antennas located in close proximity to a curved HIS are investigated, and the results are compared with the flat case. Different types of resonances that may occur for such a low-profile antenna application are discussed. The effects of curvature on the radiation performance of antennas are examined. Commercially available flexible materials are relatively thin which degrades the bandwidth of HISs. Another practical aspect, which is related to the substrate thickness, is the compactness of the surface. Because of the design limitations of conventional HISs, it is not possible to miniaturize the HIS and increase the bandwidth, simultaneously. To overcome this drawback, a novel HIS is proposed with a periodically perforated ground plane. Copper plated through holes are extremely vulnerable to bending and should be avoided at the bending parts of flexible circuits. Fortunately, if designed properly, the perforations on the ground plane may result in suppression of surface waves. Hence, metallic posts can be eliminated without hindering the surface wave suppression properties of HISs.

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2013

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Energy-efficient distributed estimation by utilizing a nonlinear amplifier

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Distributed estimation uses many inexpensive sensors to compose an accurate estimate of a given parameter. It is frequently implemented using wireless sensor networks. There have been several studies on optimizing power allocation in wireless sensor networks used for distributed estimation,

Distributed estimation uses many inexpensive sensors to compose an accurate estimate of a given parameter. It is frequently implemented using wireless sensor networks. There have been several studies on optimizing power allocation in wireless sensor networks used for distributed estimation, the vast majority of which assume linear radio-frequency amplifiers. Linear amplifiers are inherently inefficient, so in this dissertation nonlinear amplifiers are examined to gain efficiency while operating distributed sensor networks. This research presents a method to boost efficiency by operating the amplifiers in the nonlinear region of operation. Operating amplifiers nonlinearly presents new challenges. First, nonlinear amplifier characteristics change across manufacturing process variation, temperature, operating voltage, and aging. Secondly, the equations conventionally used for estimators and performance expectations in linear amplify-and-forward systems fail. To compensate for the first challenge, predistortion is utilized not to linearize amplifiers but rather to force them to fit a common nonlinear limiting amplifier model close to the inherent amplifier performance. This minimizes the power impact and the training requirements for predistortion. Second, new estimators are required that account for transmitter nonlinearity. This research derives analytically and confirms via simulation new estimators and performance expectation equations for use in nonlinear distributed estimation. An additional complication when operating nonlinear amplifiers in a wireless environment is the influence of varied and potentially unknown channel gains. The impact of these varied gains and both measurement and channel noise sources on estimation performance are analyzed in this paper. Techniques for minimizing the estimate variance are developed. It is shown that optimizing transmitter power allocation to minimize estimate variance for the most-compressed parameter measurement is equivalent to the problem for linear sensors. Finally, a method for operating distributed estimation in a multipath environment is presented that is capable of developing robust estimates for a wide range of Rician K-factors. This dissertation demonstrates that implementing distributed estimation using nonlinear sensors can boost system efficiency and is compatible with existing techniques from the literature for boosting efficiency at the system level via sensor power allocation. Nonlinear transmitters work best when channel gains are known and channel noise and receiver noise levels are low.

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2013

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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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Energy efficient RF transmitter design using enhanced breakdown voltage SOI-CMOS compatible MESFETs

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The high cut-off frequency of deep sub-micron CMOS technologies has enabled the integration of radio frequency (RF) transceivers with digital circuits. However, the challenging point is the integration of RF power amplifiers, mainly due to the low breakdown voltage of

The high cut-off frequency of deep sub-micron CMOS technologies has enabled the integration of radio frequency (RF) transceivers with digital circuits. However, the challenging point is the integration of RF power amplifiers, mainly due to the low breakdown voltage of CMOS transistors. Silicon-on-insulator (SOI) metal semiconductor field effect transistors (MESFETs) have been introduced to remedy the limited headroom concern in CMOS technologies. The MESFETs presented in this thesis have been fabricated on different SOI-CMOS processes without making any change to the standard fabrication steps and offer 2-30 times higher breakdown voltage than the MOSFETs on the same process. This thesis explains the design steps of high efficiency and wideband RF transmitters using the proposed SOI-CMOS compatible MESFETs. This task involves DC and RF characterization of MESFET devices, along with providing a compact Spice model for simulation purposes. This thesis presents the design of several SOI-MESFET RF power amplifiers operating at 433, 900 and 1800 MHz with ~40% bandwidth. Measurement results show a peak power added efficiency (PAE) of 55% and a peak output power of 22.5 dBm. The RF-PAs were designed to operate in Class-AB mode to minimize the linearity degradation. Class-AB power amplifiers lead to poor power added efficiency, especially when fed with signals with high peak to average power ratio (PAPR) such as wideband code division multiple access (W-CDMA). Polar transmitters have been introduced to improve the efficiency of RF-PAs at backed-off powers. A MESFET based envelope tracking (ET) polar transmitter was designed and measured. A low drop-out voltage regulator (LDO) was used as the supply modulator of this polar transmitter. MESFETs are depletion mode devices; therefore, they can be configured in a source follower configuration to have better stability and higher bandwidth that MOSFET based LDOs. Measurement results show 350 MHz bandwidth while driving a 10 pF capacitive load. A novel polar transmitter is introduced in this thesis to alleviate some of the limitations associated with polar transmitters. The proposed architecture uses the backgate terminal of a partially depleted transistor on SOI process, which relaxes the bandwidth and efficiency requirements of the envelope amplifier in a polar transmitter. The measurement results of the proposed transmitter demonstrate more than three times PAE improvement at 6-dB backed-off output power, compared to the traditional RF transmitters.

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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

Description

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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Novel rail clamp architectures and their systematic design

Description

Rail clamp circuits are widely used for electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection in semiconductor products today. A step-by-step design procedure for the traditional RC and single-inverter-based rail clamp circuit and the design, simulation, implementation, and operation of two novel rail clam

Rail clamp circuits are widely used for electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection in semiconductor products today. A step-by-step design procedure for the traditional RC and single-inverter-based rail clamp circuit and the design, simulation, implementation, and operation of two novel rail clamp circuits are described for use in the ESD protection of complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) circuits. The step-by-step design procedure for the traditional circuit is technology-node independent, can be fully automated, and aims to achieve a minimal area design that meets specified leakage and ESD specifications under all valid process, voltage, and temperature (PVT) conditions. The first novel rail clamp circuit presented employs a comparator inside the traditional circuit to reduce the value of the time constant needed. The second circuit uses a dynamic time constant approach in which the value of the time constant is dynamically adjusted after the clamp is triggered. Important metrics for the two new circuits such as ESD performance, latch-on immunity, clamp recovery time, supply noise immunity, fastest power-on time supported, and area are evaluated over an industry-standard PVT space using SPICE simulations and measurements on a fabricated 40 nm test chip.

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2016

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Self-heating effects in nanowire transistors

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One of the challenges in future semiconductor device design is excessive rise of power dissipation and device temperatures. With the introduction of new geometrically confined device structures like SOI, FinFET, nanowires and continuous incorporation of new materials with poor thermal

One of the challenges in future semiconductor device design is excessive rise of power dissipation and device temperatures. With the introduction of new geometrically confined device structures like SOI, FinFET, nanowires and continuous incorporation of new materials with poor thermal conductivities in the device active region, the device thermal problem is expected to become more challenging in coming years. This work examines the degradation in the ON-current due to self-heating effects in 10 nm channel length silicon nanowire transistors. As part of this dissertation, a 3D electrothermal device simulator is developed that self-consistently solves electron Boltzmann transport equation with 3D energy balance equations for both the acoustic and the optical phonons. This device simulator predicts temperature variations and other physical and electrical parameters across the device for different bias and boundary conditions. The simulation results show insignificant current degradation for nanowire self-heating because of pronounced velocity overshoot effect. In addition, this work explores the role of various placement of the source and drain contacts on the magnitude of self-heating effect in nanowire transistors. This work also investigates the simultaneous influence of self-heating and random charge effects on the magnitude of the ON current for both positively and negatively charged single charges. This research suggests that the self-heating effects affect the ON-current in two ways: (1) by lowering the barrier at the source end of the channel, thus allowing more carriers to go through, and (2) via the screening effect of the Coulomb potential. To examine the effect of temperature dependent thermal conductivity of thin silicon films in nanowire transistors, Selberherr's thermal conductivity model is used in the device simulator. The simulations results show larger current degradation because of self-heating due to decreased thermal conductivity . Crystallographic direction dependent thermal conductivity is also included in the device simulations. Larger degradation is observed in the current along the [100] direction when compared to the [110] direction which is in agreement with the values for the thermal conductivity tensor provided by Zlatan Aksamija.

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2011