As integrated technologies are scaling down, there is an increasing trend in the
process,voltage and temperature (PVT) variations of highly integrated RF systems.
Accounting for these variations during the design phase requires tremendous amount
of time for prediction of RF performance and optimizing it accordingly. Thus, there
is an increasing gap between the need to relax the RF performance requirements at
the design phase for rapid development and the need to provide high performance
and low cost RF circuits that function with PVT variations. No matter how care-
fully designed, RF integrated circuits (ICs) manufactured with advanced technology
nodes necessitate lengthy post-production calibration and test cycles with expensive
RF test instruments. Hence design-for-test (DFT) is proposed for low-cost and fast
measurement of performance parameters during both post-production and in-eld op-
eration. For example, built-in self-test (BIST) is a DFT solution for low-cost on-chip
measurement of RF performance parameters. In this dissertation, three aspects of
automated test and calibration, including DFT mathematical model, BIST hardware
and built-in calibration are covered for RF front-end blocks.
First, the theoretical foundation of a post-production test of RF integrated phased
array antennas is proposed by developing the mathematical model to measure gain
and phase mismatches between antenna elements without any electrical contact. The
proposed technique is fast, cost-efficient and uses near-field measurement of radiated
power from antennas hence, it requires single test setup, it has easy implementation
and it is short in time which makes it viable for industrialized high volume integrated
IC production test.
Second, a BIST model intended for the characterization of I/Q offset, gain and
phase mismatch of IQ transmitters without relying on external equipment is intro-
duced. The proposed BIST method is based on on-chip amplitude measurement as
in prior works however,here the variations in the BIST circuit do not affect the target
parameter estimation accuracy since measurements are designed to be relative. The
BIST circuit is implemented in 130nm technology and can be used for post-production
and in-field calibration.
Third, a programmable low noise amplifier (LNA) is proposed which is adaptable
to different application scenarios depending on the specification requirements. Its
performance is optimized with regards to required specifications e.g. distance, power
consumption, BER, data rate, etc.The statistical modeling is used to capture the
correlations among measured performance parameters and calibration modes for fast
adaptation. Machine learning technique is used to capture these non-linear correlations and build the probability distribution of a target parameter based on measurement results of the correlated parameters. The proposed concept is demonstrated by
embedding built-in tuning knobs in LNA design in 130nm technology. The tuning
knobs are carefully designed to provide independent combinations of important per-
formance parameters such as gain and linearity. Minimum number of switches are
used to provide the desired tuning range without a need for an external analog input.