Fully digital-compatible built-in self-test solutions to linearity testing of embedded mixed-signal functions
Xing, Hanqing (2008) Fully digital-compatible built-in self-test solutions to linearity testing of embedded mixed-signal functions. PhD thesis, Iowa State University.
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Mixed-signal circuits, especially analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters, are the most widely used circuitry in electronic systems. In the most of the cases, mixed-signal circuits form the interface between the analog and digital worlds and enable the processing and recovering of the real-world information. Performance of mixed-signal circuits, such as linearity and noise, are then critical to any applications. Conventionally, mixed-signal circuits are tested by mixed-signal automatic test equipment (ATE). However, along with the continuous performance improvement, using conventionally methods increases test costs significantly since it takes much more time to test high-performance parts than low-performance ones and mixed-signal ATE testers could be extremely expensive depending on the test precision they provide. Another factor that makes mixed-signal testing more and more challenging is the advance of the integration level. In the popular system-on-chip applications, mixed-signal circuits are deeply embedded in the systems. With less observability and accessibility, conventionally external test methods can not guarantee the precision of the source signals and evaluations. Test performance is then degraded. This work investigates new methods using digital testers incorporated with on-chip, built-in self-test circuits to test the linearity performance of data converters with less test cost and better test performance. Digital testers are cheap to use since they only offer logic signals with direct connections. The analog sourcing and evaluation capabilities have to be absorbed by the on-chip BIST circuits, which, meanwhile, could benefit the test performance with access to the internal circuit nodes. The main challenge of the digital-compatible BIST methods is to implement the BIST circuits with enough high test performance but with low design complexity and cost. High-resolution data converter testing needs much higher-precision analog source signals and evaluation circuits. However, high-precision analog circuits are conventionally hard to design and costly, and their performance is subject to mismatch errors and process variations and cannot be guaranteed without careful testing. On the digital side, BIST circuits usually conduct procedure control and data processing. To make the BIST solution more universal, the control and processing performed by the digital BIST circuits should be simple and not rely on any complex microcontroller and DSP block. Therefore, the major tasks of this dissertation are 1) performance-robust analog BIST circuit design and 2) test procedure development. Analog BIST circuits in this work consist of only low-accuracy analog components, which are usually easy to design and cost effective. The precision is then obtained by applying the so-called deterministic dynamic element matching technique to the low-accuracy analog cells. The test procedure and data processing designed for the BIST system are simple and can be implemented by small logic circuits. In this dissertation, we discuss the proposed BIST solutions to ADC and DAC linearity testing in chapter 3 and chapter 5, respectively. In each case, the structure of the test system, the test procedure, and the theoretical analysis of the test performance are presented. Simulation results are shown to verify the efficacy of the methods. The ADC BIST system is also verified experimentally. In addition, chapter 4 introduces a system-identification based reduced-code testing method for pipeline ADCs. This method is able to reduce test time by more than 95%. And it is compatible with the proposed BIST method discussed in chapter 3.
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