This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

High Sensitivity Signatures for Test and Diagnosis of Analog, Mixed-Signal and Radio-Frequency Circuits




Sindia, Suraj

Type of Degree



Electrical Engineering


The conventional approach, widely practiced in the industry today, for testing analog circuits is to ensure that the circuit conforms to data-sheet limits on all its specifications. However, such a specification based test methodology suffers from high levels of test cost stemming from long test-times on expensive test equipment. In recent years the situation has only worsened with the advent of mixed signal systems on chip (SoC), to a point where analog circuit test cost is often found to be as much as 50% of the total test cost in spite of analog portions occupying less than 5% of the chip area. To alleviate the analog circuit test cost problem, a number of techniques exist in the literature that can be broadly classified as (a) fault-model based test or (b) alternate test. Fault model based test techniques direct their tests to identify faults in circuit components much like their digital circuit test counterparts resulting in a test approach that can be easily automated and relies on readily available output measurements on inexpensive test equipment. On the other hand, alternate test techniques test a circuit by building a regression model relating a few easily observable output parameters as signatures of the circuit to the actual circuit specification. Both these test paradigms for analog circuit test, however, have limited industry accep- tance due to a lack of confidence in the defect level and yield loss that the test procedures can guarantee in the face of high manufacturing process variation and low signal levels that are characteristic of modern analog circuits. An important reason for the (typically) high defect level and yield loss resulting from the use of either of these two test paradigms is the unavailability of easily obtainable circuit outputs that are (a) sufficiently sensitive to circuit component values and (b) have a high degree of correlation with circuit specifications. ii The main ob jective of this thesis is to design analog test signatures (and associated test procedures) that are (i) sensitive enough to capture even small variations in circuit components, and (ii) sufficiently correlated to circuit specifications and yet obtainable at limited or no additional hardware and input signal design effort. Additional ob jectives of this thesis are to: 1) Extend the use of the new signatures to diagnose faulty circuit components in analog circuits. 2) Use the test signatures to distinguish faults resulting from defects caused by manufacturing process related variations. 3) Evaluate the theoretical bounds on the achievable defect level and the resulting yield loss of fault model based test procedures relying on these signatures. The sensitivity of the proposed test signatures is enhanced by an exponential transforma- tion, called V-Transform. The new test signatures and associated procedures are evaluated using three metrics test time, defect level (test escapes), and yield loss. We analyze the proposed signatures theoretically in addition to extensive computer simulations and hard- ware measurements on common RF/analog circuits such as filters and low noise amplifiers. A representative result of one of our experiments is as follows: For 400 low noise amplifier circuits that were tested, we find that the proposed V-transform based signatures resulted in smaller test escape (≈ 2%) and yield loss (≈ 3%) when compared to other prevailing alternate test or fault-model based test methods, while significantly reducing test time (by as much as 50%) compared to the traditional specification based test methods.