Rapid growth in sensors and sensor technology introduces variety of products to the market. The increasing number of available sensor concepts and implementations demands more versatile sensor electronics and signal conditioning. Nowadays signal conditioning for the available spectrum of sensors is becoming more and more challenging. Moreover, developing a sensor signal conditioning ASIC is a function of cost, area, and robustness to maintain signal integrity. Field programmable analog approaches and the recent evolvable hardware approaches offer partial solution for advanced compensation as well as for rapid prototyping. The recent research field of evolutionary concepts focuses predominantly on digital and is at its advancement stage in analog domain. Thus, the main research goal is to combine the ever increasing industrial demand for sensor signal conditioning with evolutionary concepts and dynamically reconfigurable matched analog arrays implemented in main stream Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductors (CMOS) technologies to yield an intelligent and smart sensor system with acceptable fault tolerance and the so called self-x features, such as self-monitoring, self-repairing and self-trimming. For this aim, the work suggests and progresses towards a novel, time continuous and dynamically reconfigurable signal conditioning hardware platform suitable to support variety of sensors. The state-of-the-art has been investigated with regard to existing programmable/reconfigurable analog devices and the common industrial application scenario and circuits, in particular including resource and sizing analysis for proper motivation of design decisions. The pursued intermediate granular level approach called as Field Programmable Medium-granular mixed signal Array (FPMA) offers flexibility, trimming and rapid prototyping capabilities. The proposed approach targets at the investigation of industrial applicability of evolvable hardware concepts and to merge it with reconfigurable or programmable analog concepts, and industrial electronics standards and needs for next generation robust and flexible sensor systems. The devised programmable sensor signal conditioning test chips, namely FPMA1/FPMA2, designed in 0.35 µm (C35B4) Austriamicrosystems, can be used as a single instance, off the shelf chip at the PCB level for conditioning or in the loop with dedicated software to inherit the aspired self-x features. The use of such self–x sensor system carries the promise of improved flexibility, better accuracy and reduced vulnerability to manufacturing deviations and drift. An embedded system, namely PHYTEC miniMODUL-515C was used to program and characterize the mixed-signal test chips in various feedback arrangements to answer some of the questions raised by the research goals. Wide range of established analog circuits, ranging from single output to fully differential amplifiers, was investigated at different hierarchical levels to realize circuits like instrumentation amplifier and filters. A more extensive design issues based on low-power like for e.g., sub-threshold design were investigated and a novel soft sleep mode idea was proposed. The bandwidth limitations observed in the state of the art fine granular approaches were enhanced by the proposed intermediate granular approach. The so designed sensor signal conditioning instrumentation amplifier was then compared to the commercially available products in the market like LT 1167, INA 125 and AD 8250. In an adaptive prototype, evolutionary approaches, in particular based on particle swarm optimization with multi-objectives, were just deployed to all the test samples of FPMA1/FMPA2 (15 each) to exhibit self-x properties and to recover from manufacturing variations and drift. The variations observed in the performance of the test samples were compensated through reconfiguration for the desired specification.
In recent years, formal property checking has become adopted successfully in industry and is used increasingly to solve the industrial verification tasks. This success results from property checking formulations that are well adapted to specific methodologies. In particular, assertion checking and property checking methodologies based on Bounded Model Checking or related techniques have matured tremendously during the last decade and are well supported by industrial methodologies. This is particularly true for formal property checking of computational System-on-Chip (SoC) modules. This work is based on a SAT-based formulation of property checking called Interval Property Checking (IPC). IPC originates in the Siemens company and is in industrial use since the mid 1990s. IPC handles a special type of safety properties, which specify operations in intervals between abstract starting and ending states. This paves the way for extremely efficient proving procedures. However, there are still two problems in the IPC-based verification methodology flow that reduce the productivity of the methodology and sometimes hamper adoption of IPC. First, IPC may return false counterexamples since its computational bounded circuit model only captures local reachability information, i.e., long-term dependencies may be missed. If this happens, the properties need to be strengthened with reachability invariants in order to rule out the spurious counterexamples. Identifying strong enough invariants is a laborious manual task. Second, a set of properties needs to be formulated manually for each individual design to be verified. This set, however, isn’t re-usable for different designs. This work exploits special features of communication modules in SoCs to solve these problems and to improve the productivity of the IPC methodology flow. First, the work proposes a decomposition-based reachability analysis to solve the problem of identifying reachability information automatically. Second, this work develops a generic, reusable set of properties for protocol compliance verification.
The high demanded data throughput of data communication between units in the system can be covered by short-haul optical communication and high speed serial data communication. In these data communication schemes, the receiver has to extract the corresponding clock from serial data stream by a clock and data recovery circuit (CDR). Data transceiver nodes have their own local reference clocks for their data transmission and data processing units. The reference clocks are normally slightly different even if they are specified to have the same frequency. Therefore, the data communication transceivers always work in a plesiochronous condition, an operation with slightly different reference frequencies. The difference of the data rates is covered by an elastic buffer. In a data readout system in the experiment in particle physics, such as a particle detector, the data of analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) in all detector nodes are transmitted over the networks. The plesiochronous condition in these networks are non-preferable because it causes the difficulty in the time stamping, which is used to indicate the relative time between events. The separated clock distribution network is normally required to overcome this problem. If the existing data communication networks can support the clock distribution function, the system complexity can be largely reduced. The CDRs on all detector nodes have to operate without a local reference clock and provide the recovered clocks, which have sufficiently good quality, for using as the reference timing for their local data processing units. In this thesis, a low jitter clock and data recovery circuit for large synchronous networks is presented. It possesses a 2-loop topology. They are clock and data recovery loop and clock jitter filter loop. In CDR loop, the CDR with rotational frequency detector is applied to increase its frequency capture range, therefore the operation without local reference clock is possible. Its loop bandwidth can be freely adjusted to meet the specified jitter tolerance. The 1/4-rate time-interleaving architecture is used to reduce the operation frequency and optimize the power consumption. The clock-jitter-filter loop is applied to improve the jitter of the recovered clock. It uses a low jitter LC voltage controlled oscillator (VCO). The loop bandwidth of the clock-jitter-filter is minimized to suppress the jitter of the recovered clock. The 1/4-rate CDR with frequency detector and clock-jitter-filter with LC-VCO were implemented in 0.18µm CMOS Technology. Both circuits occupy an area of 1.61mm2 and consume 170mW from 1.8V supply. The CDR can cover data rate from 1 to 2Gb/s. Its loop bandwidth is configurable from 700kHz to 4MHz. Its jitter tolerance can comply to SONET standard. The clock-jitter-filter has the configurable input/output frequencies from 9.191 to 78.125MHz. Its loop bandwidth is adjustable from 100kHz to 3MHz. The high frequency clock is also available for a serial data transmitter. The CDR with clock-jitter-filter can generate clock with jitter of 4.2ps rms from the incoming serial data with inter-symbol-interference jitter of 150ps peak-to-peak.