High-Performance Fpaa Design For Hierarchical Implementation Of Analog And Mixed-Signal Systems

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Huang, Hu
Peckerar, Martin
The design complexity of today's IC has increased dramatically due to the high integration allowed by advanced CMOS VLSI process. A key to manage the increased design complexity while meeting the shortening time-to-market is design automation. In digital world, the field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) have evolved to play a very important role by providing ASIC-compatible design methodologies that include design-for-testability, design optimization and rapid prototyping. On the analog side, the drive towards shorter design cycles has demanded the development of high performance analog circuits that are configurable and suitable for CAD methodologies. Field-programmable analog arrays (FPAAs) are intended to achieve the benefits for analog system design as FPGAs have in the digital field. Despite of the obvious advantages of hierarchical analog design, namely short time-to-market and low non-recurring engineering (NRE) costs, this approach has some apparent disadvantages. The redundant devices and routing resources for programmability requires extra chip area, while switch and interconnect parasitics cause considerable performance degradation. To deliver a high-performance FPAA, effective methodologies must be developed to minimize those adversary effects. In this dissertation, three important aspects in the FPAA design are studied to achieve that goal: the programming technology, the configurable analog block (CAB) design and the routing architecture design. Enabled by the Laser MakelinkTM technology, which provides nearly ideal programmable switches, channel segmentation algorithms are developed to improve channel routability and reduce interconnect parasitics. Segmented routing are studied and performance metrics accounting for interconnect parasitics are proposed for performance-driven analog routing. For large scale arrays, buffer insertions are considered to further reduce interconnection delay and cross-coupling noise. A high-performance, highly flexible CAB is developed to realized both continuous-mode and switched-capacitor circuits. In the end, the implementation of an 8-bit, 50MSPS pipelined A/D converter using the proposed FPAA is presented as an example of the hierarchical analog design approach, with its key performance specifications discussed.