Article

0.84 ps Resolution Clock Skew Measurement via Subsampling

Dept. of Electr. Commun. Eng., Indian Inst. of Sci., Bangalore, India
IEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems (Impact Factor: 1.22). 01/2012; DOI: 10.1109/TVLSI.2010.2083706
Source: IEEE Xplore

ABSTRACT An all-digital on-chip clock skew measurement system via subsampling is presented. The clock nodes are subsampled with a near-frequency asynchronous sampling clock to result in beat signals which are themselves skewed in the same proportion but on a larger time scale. The beat signals are then suitably masked to extract only the skews of the rising edges of the clock signals. We propose a histogram of the arithmetic difference of the beat signals which decouples the relationship of clock jitter to the minimum measurable skew, and allows skews arbitrarily close to zero to be measured with a precision limited largely by measurement time, unlike the conventional XOR based histogram approach. We also analytically show that the proposed approach leads to an unbiased estimate of skew. The measured results from a 65 nm delay measurement front-end indicate that for an input skew range of ±1 fan-out-of-4 (FO4) delay, ±3σ resolution of 0.84 ps can be obtained with an integral error of 0.65 ps. We also experimentally demonstrate that a frequency modulation on a sampling clock maintains precision, indicating the robustness of the technique to jitter. We also show how FM modulation helps in restoring precision in case of rationally related clocks.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
111 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A scheme for built-in self-test of analog signals with minimal area overhead for measuring on-chip voltages in an all-digital manner is presented. The method is well suited for a distributed architecture, where the routing of analog signals over long paths is minimized. A clock is routed serially to the sampling heads placed at the nodes of analog test voltages. This sampling head present at each test node, which consists of a pair of delay cells and a pair of flip-flops, locally converts the test voltage to a skew between a pair of subsampled signals, thus giving rise to as many subsampled signal pairs as the number of nodes. To measure a certain analog voltage, the corresponding subsampled signal pair is fed to a delay measurement unit to measure the skew between this pair. The concept is validated by designing a test chip in a UMC 130-nm CMOS process. Sub-millivolt accuracy for static signals is demonstrated for a measurement time of a few seconds, and an effective number of bits of 5.29 is demonstrated for low-bandwidth signals in the absence of sample-and-hold circuitry.
    IEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems 02/2014; 22(2):334. · 1.22 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A method of precise measurement of on-chip analog voltages in a mostly-digital manner, with minimal overhead, is presented. A pair of clock signals is routed to the node of an analog voltage. This analog voltage controls the delay between this pair of clock signals, which is then measured in an all-digital manner using the technique of sub-sampling. This sub-sampling technique, having measurement time and accuracy trade-off, is well suited for low bandwidth signals. This concept is validated by designing delay cells, using current starved inverters in UMC 130nm CMOS process. Sub-mV accuracy is demonstrated for a measurement time of few seconds.
    Circuits and Systems (ISCAS), 2011 IEEE International Symposium on; 06/2011
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: An all-digital technique is proposed for generating an accurate delay irrespective of the inaccuracies of a controllable delay line. A subsampling technique-based delay measurement unit (DMU) capable of measuring delays accurately for the full period range is used as the feedback element to build accurate fractional period delays based on input digital control bits. The proposed delay generation system periodically measures and corrects the error and maintains it at the minimum value without requiring any special calibration phase. Up to 40 improvement in accuracy is demonstrated for a commercial programmable delay generator chip. The time-precision trade-off feature of the DMU is utilized to reduce the locking time. Loop dynamics are adjusted to stabilize the delay after the minimum error is achieved, thus avoiding additional jitter. Measurement results from a high-end oscilloscope also validate the effectiveness of the proposed system in improving accuracy.
    IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement 01/2012; 61(7):1924-1932. · 1.36 Impact Factor

Full-text (4 Sources)

View
209 Downloads
Available from
May 20, 2014