What to look out for when selecting an Embedded Process Monitor.
When selecting an embedded Process Monitor for use within your digital SoC it is important to make sure it ticks certain boxes.
Understanding how the chip has been made (process) has become a critical requirement for advanced node semiconductor design. Customer products are becoming ever more compelling and there is a greater need to overcome the physical challenges of advanced nodes. On a per die basis you need to carefully consider the following questions: What is your process type? What is the process variability likely to be and how will this impact your design? How is your silicon ageing? How can you dynamically optimise performance?
Listed below are the 5 things to consider:
“When things are measured, they can be optimised” this couldn’t be more true in the case of Process Monitors. If an IC can self-determine its own manufactured process characteristics it can provide critical information regarding system optimisation on a per die basis. Process Monitors can also be used to enable continuous Dynamic Voltage & Frequency Scaling (DVFS) optimisation systems to be utilised within the SoC design. Therefore a better measurement and representation of the process brings with it a greater opportunity to optimise.
2. Critical Voltage & Timing Analysis
A process detector should allow you to not only analyse critical voltage but also enable supply/logic experimentation. It should also allow you to run production test phases and optimise the functionality for low power, all on a per die basis. Detecting logic speed and monitoring voltage supply levels can be used intelligently to vary system clock frequencies and the voltage levels of supply domains. An essential function of a process monitor should be the ability to reveal how your circuit works under different voltage conditions and identify the timing constraints.
3. Ease of Integration
Process Monitors should be easy to integrate, compatible with standard CMOS processes, and have several digital interfacing options for easy control and data capture.
4. Scan & Testability
A good process detector should also allow internal self-checks to identify fault conditions.
The in-chip process monitoring and management of advanced node designs has become a critical consideration for SoC developers. Ensure you clearly understand your requirement in light of the end application.
Finally, be sure to choose an IP vendor that is able to demonstrate consistent and successful circuit performance in volume production. If you have selected well, you will soon build a rapport and a good relationship with the vendor’s design team, as after all, the success of your product is a shared undertaking.
For more information about Moortec Process Monitors visit https://www.moortec.com/page/33/embedded-on-chip-process-detection-ip