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In this paper, a global clock network that incorporates standing waves and coupled oscillators to distribute a high-frequency clock signal with low skew and low jitter is described. The key design issues involved in generating standing waves on a chip are discussed, including minimizing wire loss within an available technology. A standing-wave oscillator, which is a distributed oscillator that sustains ideal standing waves on lossy wires, is introduced. A clock grid architecture comprised of coupled standing-wave oscillators and differential low-swing clock buffers is presented, along with a compact circuit model for networks of oscillators. The measured results for a prototyped standing-wave clock grid operating at 10 GHz and fabricated in a 0.18-μm 6M CMOS logic process are presented. A technique is proposed for on-chip skew measurements with subpicosecond precision.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2003