Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Design of variation-tolerant synchronizers for multiple clock and voltage domains
Author: Alshaikh, Mohammed Saleh Abdullah
ISNI:       0000 0004 5353 7303
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2014
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Parametric variability increasingly affects the performance of electronic circuits as the fabrication technology has reached the level of 32nm and beyond. These parameters may include transistor Process parameters (such as threshold voltage), supply Voltage and Temperature (PVT), all of which could have a significant impact on the speed and power consumption of the circuit, particularly if the variations exceed the design margins. As systems are designed with more asynchronous protocols, there is a need for highly robust synchronizers and arbiters. These components are often used as interfaces between communication links of different timing domains as well as sampling devices for asynchronous inputs coming from external components. These applications have created a need for new robust designs of synchronizers and arbiters that can tolerate process, voltage and temperature variations. The aim of this study was to investigate how synchronizers and arbiters should be designed to tolerate parametric variations. All investigations focused mainly on circuit-level and transistor level designs and were modeled and simulated in the UMC90nm CMOS technology process. Analog simulations were used to measure timing parameters and power consumption along with a “Monte Carlo” statistical analysis to account for process variations. Two main components of synchronizers and arbiters were primarily investigated: flip-flop and mutual-exclusion element (MUTEX). Both components can violate the input timing conditions, setup and hold window times, which could cause metastability inside their bistable elements and possibly end in failures. The mean-time between failures is an important reliability feature of any synchronizer delay through the synchronizer. The MUTEX study focused on the classical circuit, in addition to a number of tolerance, based on increasing internal gain by adding current sources, reducing the capacitive loading, boosting the transconductance of the latch, compensating the existing Miller capacitance, and adding asymmetry to maneuver the metastable point. The results showed that some circuits had little or almost no improvements, while five techniques showed significant improvements by reducing τ and maintaining high tolerance. Three design approaches are proposed to provide variation-tolerant synchronizers. wagging synchronizer proposed to First, the is significantly increase reliability over that of the conventional two flip-flop synchronizer. The robustness of the wagging technique can be enhanced by using robust τ latches or adding one more cycle of synchronization. The second approach is the Metastability Auto-Detection and Correction (MADAC) latch which relies on swiftly detecting a metastable event and correcting it by enforcing the previously stored logic value. This technique significantly reduces the resolution time down from uncertain synchronization technique is proposed to transfer signals between Multiple- Voltage Multiple-Clock Domains (MVD/MCD) that do not require conventional level-shifters between the domains or multiple power supplies within each domain. This interface circuit uses a synchronous set and feedback reset protocol which provides level-shifting and synchronization of all signals between the domains, from a wide range of voltage-supplies and clock frequencies. Overall, synchronizer circuits can tolerate variations to a greater extent by employing the wagging technique or using a MADAC latch, while MUTEX tolerance can suffice with small circuit modifications. Communication between MVD/MCD can be achieved by an asynchronous handshake without a need for adding level-shifters.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Saudi Arabian Embassy in London ; Umm Al-Qura University, Saudi Arabia
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available