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.
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 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.
· 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
Technology available for licensing with technical cooperation Patent Status Set of patent applications
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPC
Technology Transfer Office