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Title:Understanding, modeling, and mitigating system-level ESD in integrated circuits
Author(s):Mertens, Robert M
Director of Research:Rosenbaum, Elyse
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Rosenbaum, Elyse
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Schutt-Aine, Jose; Hanumolu, Pavan K; Gong, Songbin
Department / Program:Electrical & Computer Engineering
Discipline:Electrical & Computer Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Electrostatic Discharge
System-level electrostatic discharge (ESD)
Abstract:This dissertation describes several studies regarding the effects of system-level electrostatic discharge (ESD) and how to model and mitigate them. The topics in this dissertation fall into two broad categories: modeling pieces of a system-level ESD test setup and phenomenological studies. Simulation is an important tool for achieving quality designs quickly. However, modeling methodologies for system-level ESD are not yet mature. This dissertation aims to improve (i) simulation models of ESD protection elements, (ii) simulation models of ESD guns, and (iii) analytic models of rail-clamp circuits used for power-on ESD protection. Simulation models for two common ESD protection elements, diodes and silicon controlled rectifiers (SCR) are presented and evaluated, specifically with regard to the origins of poor voltage clamping. These models can be used for ESD network design and simulation; their applicability is not limited only to system-level ESD. Next, a circuit simulation model for an ESD gun (used to produce system-level ESD stresses) is presented. This model can be used for trouble-shooting and design. Lastly, an analytic model of rail-clamp circuits during system-level ESD is presented. These circuits can produce unstable oscillations or ringing on the supply; such problems must be eliminated during design. Analytic models help the designer understand how circuit parameters will impact the circuit’s performance. System-level ESD is a relatively new requirement being imposed on IC manufacturers; as such, current understanding of how system-level ESD affects ICs is not yet mature. This dissertation includes two studies that expand upon this knowledge. The first demonstrates that ground bounce due system-level ESD stress can lead to severe problems, including latch-up and power integrity problems. The second reports observations regarding input noise signals at an IC pin during system-level ESD stress. Lastly, this dissertation discusses experimental design of a test chip that will be manufactured shortly after this dissertation is completed. These experiments focus on observing and suppressing various errors that can occur during system-level ESD, arising from both noise at the inputs and power fluctuations. Additionally, this test chip includes standalone test structures that are used to reproduce power supply problems predicted in other sections of this dissertation.
Issue Date:2015-08-13
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Robert Mertens
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-03-02
Date Deposited:2015-12

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