Enabling low cost test and tuning of difficult-to-measure device specifications: application to DC-DC converters and high speed devices

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Wang, Xian
Chatterjee, Abhijit
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Low-cost test and tuning methods for difficult-to-measure specifications are presented in this research from the following perspectives: 1)"Safe" test and self-tuning for power converters: To avoid the risk of device under test (DUT) damage during conventional load/line regulation measurement on power converter, a "safe" alternate test structure is developed where the power converter (boost/buck converter) is placed in a different mode of operation during alternative test (light switching load) as opposed to standard test (heavy switching load) to prevent damage to the DUT during manufacturing test. Based on the alternative test structure, self-tuning methods for both boost and buck converters are also developed in this thesis. In addition, to make these test structures suitable for on-chip built-in self-test (BIST) application, a special sensing circuit has been designed and implemented. Stability analysis filters and appropriate models are also implemented to predict the DUT’s electrical stability condition during test and to further predict the values of tuning knobs needed for the tuning process. 2) High bandwidth RF signal generation: Up-convertion has been widely used in high frequency RF signal generation but mixer nonlinearity results in signal distortion that is difficult to eliminate with such methods. To address this problem, a framework for low-cost high-fidelity wideband RF signal generation is developed in this thesis. Depending on the band-limited target waveform, the input data for two interleaved DACs (digital-to-analog converters) system is optimized by a matrix-model-based algorithm in such a way that it minimizes the distortion between one of its image replicas in the frequency domain and the target RF waveform within a specified signal bandwidth. The approach is used to demonstrate how interferers with specified frequency characteristics can be synthesized at low cost for interference testing of RF communications systems. The frameworks presented in this thesis have a significant impact in enabling low-cost test and tuning of difficult-to-measure device specifications for power converter and high-speed devices.
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