Circuit Techniques for On-Chip Clocking and Synchronization

Sammanfattning: Today’s microprocessors with millions of transistors perform high-complexity computing at multi-gigahertz clock frequencies. The ever-increasing chip size and speed call for new methodologies in clock distribution network. Conventional global synchronization techniques exhibit many drawbacks in the advanced VLSI chips such as high-speed microprocessors. A significant percentage of the total power consumption in a microprocessor is dissipated in the clock distribution network. Also since the chip dimensions increase, clock skew management becomes very challenging in the framework of conventional methodology. Long interconnect delays limit the maximum clock frequency and become a bottleneck for future microprocessor design. In such a situation, new alternative techniques for synchronization in system-on-chip are demanded.This thesis presents new alternatives for traditional clocking and synchronization methods, in which, speed and power consumption bottlenecks are treated. For this purpose, two new techniques based on mesochronous synchronization and resonant clocking are investigated. The mesochronous synchronization technique deals with remedies for skew and delay management. Using this technique, clock frequency up to 5 GHz for on-chip communication is achievable in 0.18-μm CMOS process. On the other hand the resonant clocking solves significant power dissipation problem in the clock network. This method shows a great potential in power saving in very large-scale integrated circuits. According to measurements, 2.3X power saving in clock distribution network is achieved in 130-nm CMOS process. In the resonant clocking, oscillator plays a crucial role as a clock generator. Therefore an investigation about oscillators and possible techniques for jitter and phase noise reduction in clock generators has been done in this research framework. For this purpose a study of injection locking phenomenon in ring oscillators is presented. This phenomenon can be used as a jitter suppression mechanism in the oscillators. Also a new implementation of the DLL-based clock generators using ring oscillators is presented in 130-nm CMOS process. The measurements show that this structure operates in the frequency range of 100 MHz-1.5 GHz, and consumes less power and area compared to the previously reported structures. Finally a new implementation of a 1.8-GHz quadrature oscillator with wide tuning range is presented. The quadrature oscillators potentially can be used as future clock generators where multi-phase clock is needed.

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