Measurement and Analysis of IC Jitters and Soft Failures due to System-level ESD

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Measurement and Analysis of IC Jitters and Soft Failures due to System-level ESD
Jeong, Myeongjo
Kim, Jingook
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Graduate School of UNIST
Human touches to ground metal of electronic systems can cause electrostatic discharge (ESD)-induced soft failures without causing physical damage. If a number of data are lost due to ESD-induced noises, then a system freeze, fault, or reboot can occur, and user intervention is required to restore normal system operations. Such malfunction of a system is called system-level ESD soft failures that become more serious as the speed of electronic devices increases and their size becomes more compact. Achieving immunity of systems and integrated circuits (ICs) against soft failures due to system-level ESD is an important design goal. In this thesis, two specific circuits whose soft failures can be fatal to whole system are investigated. One of them is a delay-locked loop (DLL) and the other is a sense amplifier flip-flop (SAFF). The DLL is widely used to compensate the timing of high-speed data communications. The SAFF is commonly used as an input receiver for address and command in a DRAM. The DLL and SAFF were designed and fabricated in a 180-nm CMOS process. They are mounted in each simplified design of dual in-line memory module (DIMM) by chip on board (COB) assembly and the DIMMs are mounted on each simplified motherboard. The input and output voltages of the DLL under ESD-induced noises were measured, and the average values of peak-to-peak jitter and jitter durations of the DLL clock were obtained from repeated measurements. The effects of the VDD-GND decoupling capacitors and a bias decoupling capacitor were investigated. The measured DLL output are reproduced in SPICE simulations using the measured DLL input voltages, and the root causes of the jitter are investigated. Additionally, measurements are conducted in a frequency domain to find the relationship between the power-ground impedance and noises. The soft failures of the SAFF due to system-level ESD were investigated under the ESD injection level of 3, 5, and 8 kV. ESD test case without and with VDD-GND decoupling capacitors (de-caps) were investigated. The measurements were conducted 50 times with each test case above. The noise voltages and the soft failure ratio of the SAFF were obtained. SPICE simulation was conducted to validate the results by using measured noise voltages and root causes of the soft failures.
Department of Electrical Engineering
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