PI: Ronald Blanton
University: Carnegie Mellon University

The primary anticipated result of this proposed work is a silicon-based validated methodology for uncovering systematic defect mechanisms through a comprehensive methodology for the design, test, and diagnosis of logic characterization vehicles (LCVs). Ideally, an LCV is a test chip composed of interconnected standard cells that is fabricated and tested in volume to validate the capability of a new technology to yield working, reliable logic circuits in actual customer products. Conventional approaches for LCV design do not ensure, however, that the resulting vehicle is both highly testable/diagnosable and simultaneously reflective of actual product designs.

At present, the Carnegie Mellon methodology produces vehicles that are transparent to single, static failures, and reflect logic characteristics (i.e., cell-instance demographics) of customer designs. In this task, the team will extend design reflection to include physical (layout) characteristics from cells to back-end interconnect, and transparency to multiple inter- and intra-block failures, as well as dynamic/parametric failures. Most importantly, the team will work with industry to demonstrate the effectiveness of the methodologies with data measured and analyzed from manufactured CM-LCV designs. The team is planning to fabricate and test a significant number of CM-LCV test chips using the most state-of-the-art technologies. Over 60 of their designs have already been fabricated in volume in state-of-the-art factories located around the world.

Tester data measured from these chips will be analyzed using custom diagnosis software developed in this work. In order to gauge the capabilities of this new software the team plans to compare the results (diagnostic accuracy, resolution, analysis time, etc.) with the capabilities of existing commercial tools. The main industrial partner, PDF Solutions, has a significant footprint in Pennsylvania, and the success of the proposed work has the potential to grow the number of employees in the state, as well as establish other, PA-based companies in the semiconductor space.