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Tracking On-Chip Age Using Distributed, Embedded Sensors

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8 Author(s)
Wooters, S.N. ; Univ. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA ; Cabe, A.C. ; Zhenyu Qi ; Jiajing Wang
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Recent works show bias temperature instability (BTI) is a detrimental hard-aging mechanism in CMOS circuit design. Negative BTI (NBTI) alone degrades circuit speed upwards of 20% over a 10 year life-span. Having the ability to track the actual aging process provides one method to reduce large design margins that are otherwise required to offset circuit aging. This work extends previous research by contributing a sensing scheme that employs on-chip sensors capable of accurately tracking NBTI pMOS current degradations across process, temperature, and varying activity factors. Results show that a 7600 μm2 sensing area achieves an overall system accuracy of 90% at a voltage threshold precision of 2 mV. We thoroughly describe the sensor design and the underlying statistics used to determine overall accuracy and precision. Furthermore, a novel sensor distribution method is presented that uses an existing scan-chain methodology to mask the overhead of adding the on-chip sensors.

Published in:

Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:20 ,  Issue: 11 )

Date of Publication:

Nov. 2012

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