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Complex electronic systems for safety or mission-critical applications (automotive, space) must operate for many years in harsh environments. Reliability issues are worsening with device scaling down, while performance and quality requirements are increasing. One of the key reliability issues is to monitor long-term performance degradation due to aging in such harsh environments. For safe operation, or for preventive maintenance, it is desirable that such monitoring may be performed on chip. On-line built-in aging sensors (activated from time to time) can be an adequate solution for this problem. The purpose of this paper is to present a novel methodology for electronic systems aging monitoring, and to introduce a new architecture for an aging sensor. Aging monitoring is carried out by observing the degrading timing response of the digital system. The proposed solution takes into account power supply voltage and temperature variations and allows several levels of failure prediction. Simulation results are presented, that ascertain the usefulness of the proposed methodology.
Date of Conference: 24-26 June 2009