PhD Thesis

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« Non-intrusive embedded sensors for testing RF circuits ».

Author: L. Abdallah
Advisor: S. Mir
Co-advisor: H. Stratigopoulos
thesis reviewer(s): Y. Deval, B. Jarry,
These de Doctorat Université de Grenoble
Speciality: Electronique, électrotechnique, automatique
Defense: October 22 2012
ISBN: 978-2-84813-194-8


In the last decade, there has been a widespread increase in the use of RF integrated circuits (IC) in different hightech and communication products. The manufacturing step of such circuits induces spot defects and large process variations that involve deviations in the circuit performances beyond specifications limits. In turn, the manufacturer needs to carefully test each fabricated circuit to ensure that it performs the required specifications. Nowadays, the tests performed on these circuits are long and time-consuming. This fact is mainly related to the need of different test configurations, different test stimuli and to the complexity of the RF circuits in terms of high sensitivity to noise, impedance mismatching and electromagnetic interference. In this work, we propose to detect gross defects and to predict the RF performances using non-intrusive BIT sensors. These sensors share the temperature and the process environment of the Circuit Under Test (CUT) through a specific placement at the layout level without any electrical connexion it. This way the sensor does not tap into the signal path, the RF performances are respected and this is a very strong advantage from an RF design point of view. On the other hand, these sensors provide low-frequency measurements that truck the CUT behavior. Thus, in the test phase the overall performances are predicted by these low-cost measurements through the regression model. In turn, the test time and the complexity are greatly reduced since a single test configuration is performed for the overall CUT performances.

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