Indirect performance sensing for on-chip self-healing of analog and RF circuits

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The advent of the nanoscale integrated circuit (IC) technology makes high performance analog and RF circuits increasingly susceptible to large-scale process variations. On-chip self-healing has been proposed as a promising remedy to address the variability issue. The key idea of on-chip self-healing is to adaptively adjust a set of on-chip tuning knobs (e.g., bias voltage) in order to satisfy all performance specifications. One major challenge with on-chip self-healing is to efficiently implement on-chip sensors to accurately measure various analog and RF performance metrics. In this paper, we propose a novel indirect performance sensing technique to facilitate inexpensive-yet-accurate on-chip performance measurement. Towards this goal, several advanced statistical algorithms (i.e., sparse regression and Bayesian inference) are adopted from the statistics community. A 25 GHz differential Colpitts voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) designed in a 32 nm CMOS SOI process is used to validate the proposed indirect performance sensing and self-healing methodology. Our silicon measurement results demonstrate that the parametric yield of the VCO is significantly improved for a wafer after the proposed self-healing is applied. © 2014 IEEE.