Thermal Issues in Testing of Advanced Systems on Chip

University dissertation from Linkoping University : Linköping University Electronic Press

Abstract: Many cutting-edge computer and electronic products are powered by advanced Systems-on-Chip (SoC). Advanced SoCs encompass superb performance together with large number of functions. This is achieved by efficient integration of huge number of transistors. Such very large scale integration is enabled by a core-based design paradigm as well as deep-submicron and 3D-stacked-IC technologies. These technologies are susceptible to reliability and testing complications caused by thermal issues. Three crucial thermal issues related to temperature variations, temperature gradients, and temperature cycling are addressed in this thesis.Existing test scheduling techniques rely on temperature simulations to generate schedules that meet thermal constraints such as overheating prevention. The difference between the simulated temperatures and the actual temperatures is called temperature error. This error, for past technologies, is negligible. However, advanced SoCs experience large errors due to large process variations. Such large errors have costly consequences, such as overheating, and must be taken care of. This thesis presents an adaptive approach to generate test schedules that handle such temperature errors.Advanced SoCs manufactured as 3D stacked ICs experience large temperature gradients. Temperature gradients accelerate certain early-life defect mechanisms. These mechanisms can be artificially accelerated using gradient-based, burn-in like, operations so that the defects are detected before shipping. Moreover, temperature gradients exacerbate some delay-related defects. In order to detect such defects, testing must be performed when appropriate temperature-gradients are enforced. A schedule-based technique that enforces the temperature-gradients for burn-in like operations is proposed in this thesis. This technique is further developed to support testing for delay-related defects while appropriate gradients are enforced.The last thermal issue addressed by this thesis is related to temperature cycling. Temperature cycling test procedures are usually applied to safety-critical applications to detect cycling-related early-life failures. Such failures affect advanced SoCs, particularly through-silicon-via structures in 3D-stacked-ICs. An efficient schedule-based cycling-test technique that combines cycling acceleration with testing is proposed in this thesis. The proposed technique fits into existing 3D testing procedures and does not require temperature chambers. Therefore, the overall cycling acceleration and testing cost can be drastically reduced.All the proposed techniques have been implemented and evaluated with extensive experiments based on ITC’02 benchmarks as well as a number of 3D stacked ICs. Experiments show that the proposed techniques work effectively and reduce the costs, in particular the costs related to addressing thermal issues and early-life failures. We have also developed a fast temperature simulation technique based on a closed-form solution for the temperature equations. Experiments demonstrate that the proposed simulation technique reduces the schedule generation time by more than half.