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Based on real process data of a reference microprocessor, fault models are derived for the manufacturing defects most likely to affect signals of the clock distribution network. Their probability is estimated with Inductive Fault Analysis performed on the actual layout of the reference microprocessor. The effects of the most likely faults have been evaluated by electrical level simulations. We have found that, contrary to common assumptions, only a small percentage of such faults result in catastrophic failures easily detected during manufacturing testing. On the contrary, the majority of such faults lead to local failures not likely to be detected during manufacturing testing, despite their possibly compromising the microprocessor operation and reliability. In particular, we have found that the clock faults can be detected during manufacturing testing in only 12 percent of cases. Even more surprisingly, we have also found that, in 10 percent of cases, the undetected clock faults also invalidate the testing procedure itself.
Date of Publication: May 2004