Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPC

Low frequency Non-Intrusive built-in strategy to test and characterize RF and mmW integrated analogue circuits

Posted by Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPCResponsive · Patents for licensing · Spain

Summary of the technology

Set of procedures and circuit sensors to embed within high frequency analogue circuits (e.g.: RF, mmW), whose goal is to enhance either test production or self healing strategies to reduce performance spreading and to enhance yield. The technique is based on measuring the temperature at selected locations of the circuit under test with the goal of extracting information about the performances of the individual blocks that constitute a complete system (e.g. low noise amplifier, power amplifier, etc). Partners to further develop the system and/or to establish commercial agreements along with technical cooperation are sought.

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPC
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPC

The Challenge

The scaling down of CMOS technologies has enabled a whole system to be integrated on a single silicon chip (System on Chip, SoC). The benefits of this are low cost, high reliability and low power consumption. A drawback of SoC integration is the significant loss of observability that it entails, since few nodes are accessible from the outside. As a consequence, the complexity and cost of testing, monitoring and characterizing individual parts of the system increase, specifically in RF front-ends in which the operating frequency is in the range of gigahertz.

One strategy that is used to enhance observability is to include circuit sensors in the same silicon die than the circuit under test to measure electrical signals at selected SoC nodes in order to extract figures of merit of the of the individual blocks that constitute the SoC.

However, as the sensor loads the high frequency signal path, its presence degrades the performances of the circuit under test. Moreover, the sensor must deal with high frequency electrical signals, making its design a real challenge

The Technology

The present inventions allows to perform test and characterization of the individuals blocks that constitute the SoC by measuring temperature variations at selected locations of the silicon surface with a temperature sensor embedded with the circuit to test/characterize.

Current stage of development

Successful tests have been done in RF (1GHz, 2.4GHz) and mmW (62GHz) linear amplifiers. Prototype sensors have been fabricated. They need further design work to be considered a valid IP.

Applications and Target Market

Analog circuit designers and testers. IP vendors. IP designers. Design for Test companies.

Innovative advantages

· The technology enhances SoC observability, allowing to extract information about the individual blocks.
Measurements are done at low frequency regardless the circuit under test working frequency, reducing the cost of the measuring equipment.
· The same sensor can be re-used to be used in circuits under test working at different frequency bands (e.g. RF or mmW) The procedure does not electrically load the circuit under test. Therefore, it does not alter their behaviour. No co-design is needed.
Applications: production test enhancement, failure analysis, on-field test and use in selfcalibrating strategies.

Intellectual property status

Granted Patent
Technology available for licensing with technical cooperation Patent Status Set of patent applications

Technology Owner

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPC

Technology Transfer Office

Related keywords

  • Electronics, IT and Telecomms
  • Electronic circuits, components and equipment
  • Circuit boards
  • ip vendors
  • ip designers
  • circuits
  • analog circuits

About Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPC

Technology Transfer Office from Spain

The Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - BarcelonaTech is a public institution dedicated to higher education and research in the fields of engineering, architecture and science, which contributes its knowledge and expertise in order to increase scientific output, transfer its results to society and provide a network of scientific and technical state-of-the-art facilities and technology valorization services that place us at the leading edge of innovation and economic development.

The UPC has established itself as a driver of innovation and is the technology partner of choice for companies and organizations with which it develops projects and builds partnerships. A role borne out by the numerous agreements and research projects that have been set in motion by groups, organizations and laboratories; the creation of new technology-based companies; the generation and exploitation of patents, and the scientific and technical services UPC makes available to its environment in order to generate progress and employment.

The Technology Transfer Office (SGI) is responsible of Designing, coordinating and implementing research valorisation strategies, carrying out the protection policy of the research results, marketing these results through license contracts and designing and setting up the University's enterprise creation model in order to transfer the results of the research to the market, protect and commercialize these results, promote the culture of entrepreneurship and innovation, and create technology-based companies within the UPC environment.

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