Integrated temperature sensors in deep sub-micron CMOS technologies
MetadataShow full item record
Integrated temperature sensors play an important role in enhancing the performance of on-chip power and thermal management systems in today's highly-integrated system-on-chip (SoC) platforms, such as microprocessors. Accurate on-chip temperature measurement is essential to maximize the performance and reliability of these SoCs. However, due to non-uniform power consumption by different functional blocks, microprocessors have fairly large thermal gradient (and variation) across their chips. In the case of multi-core microprocessors for example, there are task-specific thermal gradients across different cores on the same die. As a result, multiple temperature sensors are needed to measure the temperature profile at all relevant coordinates of the chip. Subsequently, the results of the temperature measurements are used to take corrective measures to enhance the performance, or save the SoC from catastrophic over-heating situations which can cause permanent damage. Furthermore, in a large multi-core microprocessor, it is also imperative to continuously monitor potential hot-spots that are prone to thermal runaway. The locations of such hot spots depend on the operations and instruction the processor carries out at a given time. Due to practical limitations, it is an overkill to place a big size temperature sensor nearest to all possible hot spots. Thus, an ideal on-chip temperature sensor should have minimal area so that it can be placed non-invasively across the chip without drastically changing the chip floor plan. In addition, the power consumption of the sensors should be very low to reduce the power budget overhead of thermal monitoring system, and to minimize measurement inaccuracies due to self-heating. The objective of this research is to design an ultra-small size and ultra-low power temperature sensor such that it can be placed in the intimate proximity of all possible hot spots across the chip. The general idea is to use the leakage current of a reverse-bias p-n junction diode as an operand for temperature sensing. The tasks within this project are to examine the theoretical aspect of such sensors in both Silicon-On-Insulator (SOI), and bulk Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) technologies, implement them in deep sub-micron technologies, and ultimately evaluate their performances, and compare them to existing solutions.