On Reduction of Substrate Noise in Mixed-Signal Circuits

Detta är en avhandling från Institutionen för systemteknik

Sammanfattning: Microelectronics is heading towards larger and larger systems implemented on a single chip. In wireless communication equipment, e.g., cellular phones, handheld computers etc., both analog and digital circuits are required. If several integrated circuits (ICs) are used in a system, a large amount of the power is consumed by the communication between the ICs. Furthermore, the communication between ICs is slow compared with on-chip communication. Therefore, it is favorable to integrate the whole system on a single chip, which is the objective in the system-on-chip (SoC) approach.In a mixed-signal SoC, analog and digital circuits share the same chip. When digital circuits are switching, they produce noise that is spread through the silicon substrate to other circuits. This noise is known as substrate noise. The performance of sensitive analog circuits is degraded by the substrate noise in terms of, e.g., lower signal-to-noise ratio and lower spurious-free dynamic range. Another problem is the design of the clock distribution net, which is challenging in terms of obtaining low power consumption, sharp clock edges, and low simultaneous switching noise.In this thesis, a noise reduction strategy that focus on reducing the amount of noise produced in digital clock buffers, is presented. The strategy is to use a clock with long rise and fall times. It is also used to relax the constraints on the clock distribution net, which also reduce the design effort. Measurements on a test chip show that the strategy can be implemented in an IC with low cost in terms of speed and power consumption. Comparisons between substrate coupling in silicon-on-insulator (SOI) and conventional bulk technology are made using simple models. The objective here is to get an understanding of how the substrate coupling differs in SOI from the bulk technology. The results show that the SOI has less substrate coupling when no guard band is used, up to a certain frequency that is highly dependent of the chip structure. When a guard band is introduced in one of the analyzed test structures, the bulk resulted in much higher attenuation compared with SOI. An on-chip measurement circuit aiming at measuring simultaneous switching noise has also been designed in a 0.13 µ SOI process.