Non-Intrusive and contact less procedure to test and characterize RF and mmW integrated analogue circuits with DC or low frequency temperature measurements with applications to failure analysis

Summary of the technology

A new procedure that is able to test (go-no go) and to characterize (i.e. to extract high frequency figures of merit, such as central frequency, 1dB compression point) high frequency analogue circuits by using off-chip temperature measurement techniques, such as infra-red camera, reflectometry, interferometry, etc... The technique has applications in the field of design debugging or failure analysis. It allows to test and characterize the individual blocks that constitute a complete system (e.g. low noise amplifier, mixer, power amplifier), even when their electrical outputs are not accessible to the classical instrumentation equipment. 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. Nowadays, the characterization and testing of RF integrated circuits (RFIC) SoC is carried out at system level by measuring high level performances such as bit error rate (BER) and error vector magnitude (EVM). However, during the debugging phase of a product, the possibility of characterizing the different blocks individually (Low Noise Amplifier, Mixer, Local Oscillator, etc.) without adding additional electrical outputs is of great help.

The Technology

The present inventions allows to perform either production testing (go - no go) or measurement of specific high frequency electrical figures of merit (e.g. central frequency, 1 dB compression point, efficiency) of the individual blocks that constitute the RFIC SoC by measuring changes of the temperature at the semiconductor surface close to the block to characterize. Temperature measurements are performed either at DC or at low frequency, regardless the circuit under test working frequency. The technology is compatible with any state of the art IC temperature measuring technique used in failure analysis applications.

Current stage of development

Successful tests have been done in RF (1GHz, 2.4GHz) and mmW (62GHz) linear amplifiers.

Applications and Target Market

Companies related to: RF and mmW integrated circuit test and characterization for failure analysis or design debugging; companies that design and sell equipments to perform temperature measurements in integrated circuits.

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 procedure does not electrically load the circuit under test. Therefore, it does not alter their behaviour.

· Procedure compatible with state of the art off-chip IC temperature measuring techniques.

Intellectual property status

  • Granted Patent
  • Patent application number :-

Related Keywords

  • Electronics, IT and Telecomms
  • Electronic circuits, components and equipment
  • Measurements and Standards
  • Measurement Tools
  • Electronic measurement systems
  • Measurement devices
  • Circuit boards
  • temperature measurements

About Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPC

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.

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPC

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