This project aims to develop low-cost, reliable, and verifiable test solutions for analog, mixed-signal, and radio frequency circuits (AMS/RF). Capitalizing the skill of the designer on the design process of such circuits and on the limitations of the test techniques developed to date, we intend to seek new test paradigms that allow safely abandon the traditional methods of functional test. In this way, it could contribute to decrease the test cost that represents today about half the cost of manufacturing a complex circuit. We will focus on functional alternative methods and indirect test methods. The first will measure functional parameters but will be less expensive than standard techniques, thus relaxing the requirements of the test equipments. The later would be aimed at the detection of defects, and will be based on the assumption of considering that the circuit is correct by construction and what is sought with the test are indications of possible degradation. This can be a paradigm shift of very important consequences in current electronic products; if the project gives the expected results, this methodology could have a similar impact on the AMS-RF circuits that it had the introduction of the Boundary-Scan in digital circuits.
Since it is extremely complex to reliably validate a technique test before mass production of circuits, also in this project we intend lo address the problem of lest verification, developing behavioral models aimed at facilitating the verification quickly and efficiently.
In this context, the project aims to address three general objectives:
1. Capitalize information on the design process and verification of AMS-RF circuits, creating documentation and/or modeling allowing the development of new test paradigms that represent significant improvements lo the quality/test tradeoff. We want to explore how we can formalize and systematize what we know of the circuit to develop robust and reliable test.
2. Develop reliable and verifiable solutions for the test of these circuits. The shift from a paradigm of functional test, in which the performance of the circuits are measured by standard processes for comparison with your specifications, to a paradigm of indirect test in which the decision to accept or reject a circuit is made based on deviations of so me firms, contains a great potential for significant cost reduction.
3. Explore and develop systematic methodologies for functional low-cost test not only for validating products in the post-production phase, but also with the purpose to their application in 81ST schemes for online test.
As vehicles for proof of concept we will use CMOS prototypes already made by the applicant team, namely, high performance Analog Digital converter (ADC) (> 12bits and up to 1 OOMS / s) and building blocks of front-ends in RF wireless transceivers. Some of these designs have to be adapted to incorporate additional circuitry to facilitate access to certain signals as well as for the implementation of the DfT or BIST techniques derived from the new developed test paradigms.