Matching Items (16)

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Chip level implementation techniques for radiation hardened microprocessors

Description

Microprocessors are the processing heart of any digital system and are central to all the technological advancements of the age including space exploration and monitoring. The demands of space exploration require a special class of microprocessors called radiation hardened microprocessors

Microprocessors are the processing heart of any digital system and are central to all the technological advancements of the age including space exploration and monitoring. The demands of space exploration require a special class of microprocessors called radiation hardened microprocessors which are less susceptible to radiation present outside the earth's atmosphere, in other words their functioning is not disrupted even in presence of disruptive radiation. The presence of these particles forces the designers to come up with design techniques at circuit and chip levels to alleviate the errors which can be encountered in the functioning of microprocessors. Microprocessor evolution has been very rapid in terms of performance but the same cannot be said about its rad-hard counterpart. With the total data processing capability overall increasing rapidly, the clear lack of performance of the processors manifests as a bottleneck in any processing system. To design high performance rad-hard microprocessors designers have to overcome difficult design problems at various design stages i.e. Architecture, Synthesis, Floorplanning, Optimization, routing and analysis all the while maintaining circuit radiation hardness. The reference design `HERMES' is targeted at 90nm IBM G process and is expected to reach 500Mhz which is twice as fast any processor currently available. Chapter 1 talks about the mechanisms of radiation effects which cause upsets and degradation to the functioning of digital circuits. Chapter 2 gives a brief description of the components which are used in the design and are part of the consistent efforts at ASUVLSI lab culminating in this chip level implementation of the design. Chapter 3 explains the basic digital design ASIC flow and the changes made to it leading to a rad-hard specific ASIC flow used in implementing this chip. Chapter 4 talks about the triple mode redundant (TMR) specific flow which is used in the block implementation, delineating the challenges faced and the solutions proposed to make the flow work. Chapter 5 explains the challenges faced and solutions arrived at while using the top-level flow described in chapter 3. Chapter 6 puts together the results and analyzes the design in terms of basic integrated circuit design constraints.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2013

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45-nm radiation hardened cache design

Description

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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Created

Date Created
2012

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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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Created

Date Created
2015

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Mixed signal design in thin film transistors

Description

Thin film transistors (TFTs) are being used in a wide variety of applications such as image sensors, radiation detectors, as well as for use in liquid crystal displays. However, there is a conspicuous absence of interface electronics for bridging the

Thin film transistors (TFTs) are being used in a wide variety of applications such as image sensors, radiation detectors, as well as for use in liquid crystal displays. However, there is a conspicuous absence of interface electronics for bridging the gap between the flexible sensors and digitized displays. Hence is the need to build the same. In this thesis, the feasibility of building mixed analog circuits in TFTs are explored and demonstrated. A flexible CMOS op-amp is demonstrated using a-Si:H and pentacene TFTs. The achieved performance is ¡Ö 50 dB of DC open loop gain with unity gain frequency (UGF) of 7 kHz. The op-amp is built on the popular 2 stage topology with the 2nd stage being cascoded to provide sufficient gain. A novel biasing circuit was successfully developed modifying the gm biasing circuit to retard the performance degradation as the TFTs aged. A switched capacitor 7 bit DAC was developed in only nMOS topology using a-Si:H TFTs, based on charge sharing concept. The DAC achieved a maximum differential non-linearity (DNL) of 0.6 least significant bit (LSB), while the maximum integral non-linearity (INL) was 1 LSB. TFTs were used as switches in this architecture; as a result the performance was quite unchanged even as the TFTs degraded. A 5 bit fully flash ADC was also designed using all nMOS a-Si:H TFTs. Gray coding was implemented at the output to avoid errors due to comparator meta-stability. Finally a 5 bit current steering DAC was also built using all nMOS a-Si:H TFTs. However, due to process variation, the DNL was increased to 1.2 while the INL was about 1.8 LSB. Measurements were made on the external stress effects on zinc indium oxide (ZIO) TFTs. Electrically induced stresses were studied applying DC bias on the gate and drain. These stresses shifted the device characteristics like threshold voltage and mobility. The TFTs were then mechanically stressed by stretching them across cylindrical structures of various radii. Both the subthreshold swing and mobility underwent significant changes when the stress was tensile while the change was minor under compressive stress, applied parallel to channel length.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2011

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A structured design methodology for high performance VLSI arrays

Description

The geometric growth in the integrated circuit technology due to transistor scaling also with system-on-chip design strategy, the complexity of the integrated circuit has increased manifold. Short time to market with high reliability and performance is one of the most

The geometric growth in the integrated circuit technology due to transistor scaling also with system-on-chip design strategy, the complexity of the integrated circuit has increased manifold. Short time to market with high reliability and performance is one of the most competitive challenges. Both custom and ASIC design methodologies have evolved over the time to cope with this but the high manual labor in custom and statistic design in ASIC are still causes of concern. This work proposes a new circuit design strategy that focuses mostly on arrayed structures like TLB, RF, Cache, IPCAM etc. that reduces the manual effort to a great extent and also makes the design regular, repetitive still achieving high performance. The method proposes making the complete design custom schematic but using the standard cells. This requires adding some custom cells to the already exhaustive library to optimize the design for performance. Once schematic is finalized, the designer places these standard cells in a spreadsheet, placing closely the cells in the critical paths. A Perl script then generates Cadence Encounter compatible placement file. The design is then routed in Encounter. Since designer is the best judge of the circuit architecture, placement by the designer will allow achieve most optimal design. Several designs like IPCAM, issue logic, TLB, RF and Cache designs were carried out and the performance were compared against the fully custom and ASIC flow. The TLB, RF and Cache were the part of the HEMES microprocessor.

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Created

Date Created
2012

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An innovative radiation hardened by design flip-flop

Description

Radiation hardening by design (RHBD) has become a necessary practice when creating circuits to operate within radiated environments. While employing RHBD techniques has tradeoffs between size, speed and power, novel designs help to minimize these penalties. Space radiation is the

Radiation hardening by design (RHBD) has become a necessary practice when creating circuits to operate within radiated environments. While employing RHBD techniques has tradeoffs between size, speed and power, novel designs help to minimize these penalties. Space radiation is the primary source of radiation errors in circuits and two types of single event effects, single event upsets (SEU), and single event transients (SET) are increasingly becoming a concern. While numerous methods currently exist to nullify SEUs and SETs, special consideration to the techniques of temporal hardening and interlocking are explored in this thesis. Temporal hardening mitigates both SETs and SEUs by spacing critical nodes through the use of delay elements, thus allowing collected charge to be removed. Interlocking creates redundant nodes to rectify charge collection on one single node. This thesis presents an innovative, temporally hardened D flip-flop (TFF). The TFF physical design is laid out in the 130 nm TSMC process in the form of an interleaved multi-bit cell and the circuitry necessary for the flip-flop to be hardened against SETs and SEUs is analyzed with simulations verifying these claims. Comparisons are made to an unhardened D flip-flop through speed, size, and power consumption depicting how the RHBD technique used increases all three over an unhardened flip-flop. Finally, the blocks from both the hardened and the unhardened flip-flops being placed in Synthesis and auto-place and route (APR) design flows are compared through size and speed to show the effects of using the high density multi-bit layout. Finally, the TFF presented in this thesis is compared to two other flip-flops, the majority voter temporal/DICE flip-flop (MTDFF) and the C-element temporal/DICE flip-flop (CTDFF). These circuits are built on the same 130 nm TSMC process as the TFF and then analyzed by the same methods through speed, size, and power consumption and compared to the TFF and unhardened flip-flops. Simulations are completed on the MTDFF and CTDFF to show their strengths against D node SETs and SEUs as well as their weakness against CLK node SETs. Results show that the TFF is faster and harder than both the MTDFF and CTDFF.

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Created

Date Created
2010

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Fully automated radiation hardened by design circuit construction

Description

A fully automated logic design methodology for radiation hardened by design (RHBD) high speed logic using fine grained triple modular redundancy (TMR) is presented. The hardening techniques used in the cell library are described and evaluated, with a focus on

A fully automated logic design methodology for radiation hardened by design (RHBD) high speed logic using fine grained triple modular redundancy (TMR) is presented. The hardening techniques used in the cell library are described and evaluated, with a focus on both layout techniques that mitigate total ionizing dose (TID) and latchup issues and flip-flop designs that mitigate single event transient (SET) and single event upset (SEU) issues. The base TMR self-correcting master-slave flip-flop is described and compared to more traditional hardening techniques. Additional refinements are presented, including testability features that disable the self-correction to allow detection of manufacturing defects. The circuit approach is validated for hardness using both heavy ion and proton broad beam testing. For synthesis and auto place and route, the methodology and circuits leverage commercial logic design automation tools. These tools are glued together with custom CAD tools designed to enable easy conversion of standard single redundant hardware description language (HDL) files into hardened TMR circuitry. The flow allows hardening of any synthesizable logic at clock frequencies comparable to unhardened designs and supports standard low-power techniques, e.g. clock gating and supply voltage scaling.

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Created

Date Created
2012

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Radiation transport analysis in chalcogenide-based devices and a neutron howitzer using MCNP

Description

As photons, electrons, and neutrons traverse a medium, they impart their energy in ways that are analytically difficult to describe. Monte Carlo methods provide valuable insight into understanding this behavior, especially when the radiation source or environment is too complex

As photons, electrons, and neutrons traverse a medium, they impart their energy in ways that are analytically difficult to describe. Monte Carlo methods provide valuable insight into understanding this behavior, especially when the radiation source or environment is too complex to simplify. This research investigates simulating various radiation sources using the Monte Carlo N-Particle (MCNP) transport code, characterizing their impact on various materials, and comparing the simulation results to general theory and measurements.

A total of five sources were of interest: two photon sources of different incident particle energies (3.83 eV and 1.25 MeV), two electron sources also of different energies (30 keV and 100 keV), and a californium-252 (Cf-252) spontaneous fission neutron source. Lateral and vertical programmable metallization cells (PMCs) were developed by other researchers for exposure to these photon and electron sources, so simplified PMC models were implemented in MCNP to estimate the doses and fluences. Dose rates measured around the neutron source and the predicted maximum activity of activation foils exposed to the neutrons were determined using MCNP and compared to experimental results obtained from gamma-ray spectroscopy.

The analytical fluence calculations for the photon and electron cases agreed with MCNP results, and differences are due to MCNP considering particle movements that hand calculations do not. Doses for the photon cases agreed between the analytical and simulated results, while the electron cases differed by a factor of up to 4.8. Physical dose rate measurements taken from the neutron source agreed with MCNP within the 10% tolerance of the measurement device. The activity results had a percent error of up to 50%, which suggests a need to further evaluate the spectroscopy setup.

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Created

Date Created
2014

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Data path implementation for a spatially programmable architecture customized for image processing applications

Description

The last decade has witnessed a paradigm shift in computing platforms, from laptops and servers to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. These devices host an immense variety of applications many of which are computationally expensive and thus are power

The last decade has witnessed a paradigm shift in computing platforms, from laptops and servers to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. These devices host an immense variety of applications many of which are computationally expensive and thus are power hungry. As most of these mobile platforms are powered by batteries, energy efficiency has become one of the most critical aspects of such devices. Thus, the energy cost of the fundamental arithmetic operations executed in these applications has to be reduced. As voltage scaling has effectively ended, the energy efficiency of integrated circuits has ceased to improve within successive generations of transistors. This resulted in widespread use of Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC), which provide incredible energy efficiency. However, these are not flexible and have high non-recurring engineering (NRE) cost. Alternatively, Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) offer flexibility to implement any application, but at the cost of higher area and energy compared to ASIC.

In this work, a spatially programmable architecture customized for image processing applications is proposed. The intent is to bridge the efficiency gap between ASICs and FPGAs, by offering FPGA-like flexibility and ASIC-like energy efficiency. This architecture minimizes the energy overheads in FPGAs, which result from the use of fine-grained programming style and global interconnect. It is flexible compared to an ASIC and can accommodate multiple applications.

The main contribution of the thesis is the feasibility analysis of the data path of this architecture, customized for image processing applications. The data path is implemented at the register transfer level (RTL), and the synthesis results are obtained in 45nm technology cell library from a leading foundry. The results of image-processing applications demonstrate that this architecture is within a factor of 10x of the energy and area efficiency of ASIC implementations.

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Created

Date Created
2016

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Post-silicon validation of radiation hardened microprocessor, embedded flash and test structures

Description

Digital systems are essential to the technological advancements in space exploration. Microprocessor and flash memory are the essential parts of such a digital system. Space exploration requires a special class of radiation hardened microprocessors and flash memories, which are not

Digital systems are essential to the technological advancements in space exploration. Microprocessor and flash memory are the essential parts of such a digital system. Space exploration requires a special class of radiation hardened microprocessors and flash memories, which are not functionally disrupted in the presence of radiation. The reference design ‘HERMES’ is a radiation-hardened microprocessor with performance comparable to commercially available designs. The reference design ‘eFlash’ is a prototype of soft-error hardened flash memory for configuring Xilinx FPGAs. These designs are manufactured using a foundry bulk CMOS 90-nm low standby power (LP) process. This thesis presents the post-silicon validation results of these designs.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2016