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Comparator Metastability in the Presence of Noise

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1 Author(s)
Figueiredo, P.M. ; Synopsys, Inc., Porto-Salvo, Portugal

Metastability is the inability of a latched comparator to reach a decision in the available amount of time. Existing analyses of metastability disregard noise, treating it as a deterministic phenomenon that inevitably happens every-time the input voltage, vIdiff, falls in a certain interval around 0, and which is restricted to the aforementioned interval. Also, according to the conventional analysis, the decision takes an infinite amount of time if vIdiff = 0 . This work analyzes metastability in the presence of noise, showing it is actually a random phenomenon whose probability of occurrence is derived. It is concluded that there is no input value for which metastability inevitably occurs (not even vIdiff = 0), and that there may be a significant probability of metastability at input voltage values much larger than those predicted by conventional analysis. All the theoretical results are in agreement with extensive HSPICE transient noise simulations.

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Circuits and Systems I: Regular Papers, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:60 ,  Issue: 5 )