[ Chapter start ] [ Previous page ] [ Next page ]
14.7 Builtin Selftest
The trend to include more test logic on an ASIC has already been mentioned. Builtin selftest ( BIST ) is a set of structuredtest techniques for combinational and sequential logic, memories, multipliers, and other embedded logic blocks. In each case the principle is to generate test vectors, apply them to the circuit under test ( CUT ) or device under test ( DUT ), and then check the response.
14.7.1 LFSR
Figure 14.23 shows a linear feedback shift register ( LFSR ). The exclusiveOR gates and shift register act to produce a pseudorandom binary sequence ( PRBS ) at each of the flipflop outputs. By correctly choosing the points at which we take the feedback from an n bit shift register (see Section 14.7.5 ), we can produce a PRBS of length 2^{ n} – 1, a maximallength sequence that includes all possible patterns (or vectors) of n bits, excluding the allzeros pattern.
FIGURE 14.23 A linear feedback shift register (LFSR). A 3bit maximallength LFSR produces a repeating string of seven pseudorandom binary numbers: 7, 3, 1, 4, 2, 5, 6. 

Table 14.10 shows the maximallength sequence, with length 2^{ 3} – 1 = 7, for the 3bit LFSR shown in Figure 14.23 . Notice that the first (clock tick 1) and last rows (clock tick 8) are identical. Rows following the seventh row repeat rows 1–7, so that the length of this 3bit LFSR sequence is 7 = 2^{ 3} – 1, the maximal length. The shaded regions show how bits are shifted from one clock cycle to the next. We assume the register is initialized to the allones state, but any initial state will work and produce the same PRBS, as long as the initial state is not all zeros (in which case the LFSR will stay stuck at all zeros).
TABLE 14.10 LFSR example of Figure 14.23 . 

14.7.2 Signature Analysis
Figure 14.24 shows the LFSR of Figure 14.23 with an additional XOR gate used in the first stage of the shift register. If we apply a binary input sequence to IN , the shift register will perform data compaction (or compression ) on the input sequence. At the end of the input sequence the shiftregister contents, Q0Q1Q2 , will form a pattern that we call a signature . If the input sequence and the serialinput signature register ( SISR ) are long enough, it is unlikely (though possible) that two different input sequences will produce the same signature. If the input sequence comes from logic that we wish to test, a fault in the logic will cause the input sequence to change. This causes the signature to change from a known good value and we shall then know that the circuit under test is bad. This technique, called signature analysis , was developed by HewlettPackard to test equipment in the field in the late 1970s.
14.7.3 A Simple BIST Example
We can combine the PRBS generator of Figure 14.23 together with the signature register of Figure 14.24 to form the simple BIST structure shown in Figure 14.25 (a). LFSR1 generates a maximallength (2^{ 3} – 1 = 7 cycles) PRBS. LFSR2 computes the signature ('011' for the good circuit) of the CUT. LFSR1 is initialized to '100' (Q0 = 1, Q1 = 0, Q2 = 0) and LFSR2 is initialized to '000'. The schematic in Figure 14.25 (a) shows the bit sequences in the circuit, both for a good circuit and for a bad circuit with a stuckat1 fault, F1. Figure 14.25 (b) shows how the bit sequences are calculated in the good circuit. The signature is formed as R0R1R2 seven clock edges (on the eighth clock cycle) after the activelow reset is taken high. Figure 14.26 shows the waveforms in the good and bad circuit. The bad circuit signature, '000', differs from the good circuit and the signature can either be compared with the known good signature onchip or the signature may be shifted out and compared offchip (both approaches are used in practice).



FIGURE 14.26 The waveforms of the BIST circuit of Figure 14.25 . (a) The goodcircuit response. The waveforms Q1 and Q2, as well as R1 and R2, are delayed by one clock cycle as they move through each stage of the shift registers. (b) The same goodcircuit response with the register outputs Q0–Q2 and R0–R2 grouped and their values displayed in hexadecimal (Q0 and R0 are the MSBs). The signature hex 3 or '011' (R0 = 0, R1 = 1, R2 = 1) in R appears seven positive clock edges after the reset signal is taken high. This is one clock cycle after the generator completes its first sequence (hex pattern 4, 2, 5, 6, 7, 3, 1). (b) The response of the bad circuit with fault F1 and fault signature hex 0 (circled). 
14.7.4 Aliasing
In Figure 14.26 the good and bad circuits produced different signatures. There is a small probability that the signature of a bad circuit will be the same as a good circuit. This problem is known as aliasing or error masking . For the example in Figure 14.25 , the bit stream input to the signature analysis register is 7 bits long. There are 2^{ 7} or 128 possible 7bitlong bitstream patterns. We assume that each of these 128 bitstream patterns is equally likely to produce any of the eight (allzeros is an allowed pattern in a signature register) possible 3bit signatures. It turns out that this is a good assumption. Thus there are 128 / 8 or 16 bitstreams that produce the good signature, one of these belongs to the good circuit, the remaining 15 cause aliasing. Since there are a total of 128 – 1 = 127 bitstreams due to bad circuits, the fraction of badcircuit bitstreams that cause aliasing is 15 / 127, or 0.118. If all bad circuit bitstreams are equally likely (and this is a poor assumption) then 0.118 is also the probability of aliasing.
In general, if the length of the test sequence is L and the length of the signature register is R the probability p of aliasing (not detecting an error) is
Thus, for the example in Figure 14.25 , L = 7 and R = 3, and the probability of aliasing is p = (2^{ (7} ^{ –} ^{ 3)} – 1) / (2^{ 7} – 1) = 15 / 127 = 0.118, as we have just calculated. This is a very high probability of error and we would not use such a short test sequence and such a short signature register in practice.
For L >> R the error probability is
For example, if R = 16, p ª 0.0000152 corresponding to an error coverage (1 – p ) of approximately 99.9984 percent. Unfortunately, these equations for error coverage are rather meaningless since there is no easy way to relate the error coverage to fault coverage. The problem lies in our assumption that all badcircuit bitstreams are equally likely, and this is not true in practice (for example, bitstream outputs of all ones or all zeros are more likely to occur as a result of faults). Nevertheless signature analysis with high errorcoverage rates is found to produce high fault coverage.
14.7.5 LFSR Theory
The operation of LFSRs is related to the mathematics of polynomials and Galoisfield theory. The properties and behavior of these polynomials are well known and they are also used extensively in coding theory. Every LFSR has a characteristic polynomial that describes its behavior. The characteristic polynomials that cause an LFSR to generate a maximumlength PRBS are called primitive polynomials. Consider the primitive polynomial
where a ⊕ b represents the exclusiveOR of a and b . The order of this polynomial is three, and the corresponding LFSR will generate a PRBS of length 2^{ 3} – 1 = 7. For a primitive polynomial of order n , the length of the PRBS is 2 n – 1. Figure 14.27 shows the nonzero coefficients of some primitive polynomials [ Golomb et al., 1982].
Any primitive polynomial can be written as
where c _{ 0} and c _{ n} are always one. Thus for example, from Figure 14.27 for n = 3, we see s = 0, 1, 3; and thus the nonzero coefficients are c _{ 0} , c _{ 1} , and c _{ 3} . This corresponds to the primitive polynomial P(x) = 1 ⊕ x ^{ 1} ⊕ x ^{ 3} . There is no easy way to determine the coefficients of primitive polynomials, especially for large n . There are many primitive polynomials for each n , but Figure 14.27 lists the one with the fewest nonzero coefficients.
The schematic in Figure 14.27 shows how the feedback taps on a LFSR correspond to the nonzero coefficients of the primitive polynomial. If the i th coefficient c _{ i} is 1, then we include a feedback connection and an XOR gate in that position. If c _{ i} is zero, there is no feedback connection and no XOR gate in that position.
The reciprocal of a primitive polynomial, P*(x) , is also primitive, where
For example, by taking the reciprocal of the primitive polynomial P(x) = 1 ⊕ x ^{ 1} ⊕ x ^{ 3} from Eq. 14.17 , we can form
which is also a primitive polynomial.
This means that there are two possible LFSR implementations for every P(x) . Or, looked at another way, for every LFSR implementation, the characteristic polynomial can be written in terms of two primitive polynomials, P(x) and P*(x) , that are reciprocals of each other.
We may also implement an LFSR by using XOR gates in series with each flipflop output rather than external to the shift register. The externalXOR LFSR is called a type 1 LFSR and the internalXOR LFSR is called a type 2 LFSR (this is a nomenclature that most follow). Figure 14.28 shows the four different LFSRs that may be constructed for each primitive polynomial, P(x) .
There are differences between the four different LFSRs for each polynomial. Each gives a different output sequence. The outputs for the type 1 LFSRs, taken from the Q outputs of each flipflop, are identical, but delayed by one clock cycle from the previous output. This is a problem when we use the parallel output from an LFSR to test logic because of the strong correlation between the test signals. The type 2 LFSRs do not have this problem. The type 2 LFSRs also are capable of higherfrequency operation since there are fewer series XOR gates in the signal path than in the corresponding type 1 LFSR. For these reasons, the type 2 LFSRs are usually used in BIST structures. The type 1 LFSR does have the advantage that it can be more easily constructed using register structures that already exist on an ASIC.
Table 14.11 shows primitive polynomial coefficients for higher values of n than Figure 14.27 . Test length grows quickly with the size of the LFSR. For example, a 32bit generator will produce a sequence with 2^{ 32} = 4,294,967,296 ª 4.3 ¥ 10^{ 9} bits. With a 100 MHz clock (with 10 ns cycle time), the test time of 43 seconds would be impractical.
TABLE 14.11 Nonzero coefficients of primitive polynomials for LFSRs (linear feedback shift registers) that generate a maximallength PRBS (pseudorandom binary sequence). 

There is confusion over naming, labeling, and drawing of LFSRs in texts and test programs. Looking at the schematic in Figure 14.27 , we can draw the LFSR with signals flowing from left to right or vice versa (two ways), we can name the leftmost flipflop output Q _{ 0} or Q _{ n} (two more ways), and we can name the coefficient that goes with Q _{ 0} either c _{ 0} or c _{ n} _{ –} _{ 1} (two more ways). There are thus at least 2^{ 3} ¥ 4 different ways to draw an LFSR for a given polynomial. Four of these are distinct. You can connect the LFSR feedback in the reverse order and the LFSR will still work—you will, however, get a different sequence. Usually this does not matter.
14.7.6 LFSR Example
We can use a cell compiler to produce LFSR and signature register BIST structures. For example, we might complete a property sheet as follows:
property name value property name value
   
LFSR_is_bilbo false LFSR_configuration generator
LFSR_length 3 LFSR_init_hex_value 4
LFSR_scan false LFSR_mux_data false
LFSR_mux_output false LFSR_xor_hex_function max_length
LFSR_zero_state false LFSR_signature_inputs 1
The Verilog structural netlist for the compiled type 2 LFSR generator is shown in Table 14.12 . According to our notation and the primitive polynomials in Figure 14.27 , the corresponding primitive polynomial is P*(x) = 1 ⊕ x ^{ 2} ⊕ x ^{ 3} . The LFSR has both serial and parallel outputs (taken from the inverted flipflop outputs with inverting buffers, cell names in02d1 ). The clock and reset inputs are buffered (with noninverting buffers, cell names ni01d1 ) since these inputs would normally have to drive a load of more than 3 bits. Looking in the cell data book we find that the flipflop corresponding to the MSB, instance FF0 with cell name dfptnb , has an activelow set input SDN . The remaining flipflops, cell name dfctnb , have activelow clears, CDN . This gives us the initial value '100'.
Table 14.13 shows the serialinput signature register compiled using the reciprocal polynomial. Again the compiler has included buffers. All the flipflops, cell names dfctnb , have activelow clear so that the initial content of the register is '000'.
14.7.7 MISR
A serialinput signature register can only be used to test logic with a single output. We can extend the idea of a serialinput signature register to the multipleinput signature register ( MISR ) shown in Figure 14.29 . There are several ways to connect the inputs to both types (type 1 and type 2) of LFSRs to form an MISR. Since the XOR operation is linear and associative, so that ( A ⊕ B) ⊕ C = A ⊕ (B ⊕ C ), as long as the result of the additions are the same then the different representations are equivalent. If we have an n bit long MISR we can accommodate up to n inputs to form the signature. If we use m < n inputs we do not need the extra XOR gates in the last n – m positions of the MISR.

FIGURE 14.29 Multipleinput signature register (MISR). This MISR is formed from the type 2 LFSR (with P*(x) = 1 ⊕ x^{ 2} ⊕ x^{ 3} ) shown in Figure 14.28 (d) by adding XOR gates xor_i1, xor_i2, and xor_i3. This 3bit MISR can form a signature from logic with three outputs. If we only need to test two outputs then we do not need XOR gate, xor_i3, corresponding to input in[2]. 
There are several types of BIST architecture based on the MISR. By including extra logic we can reconfigure an MISR to be an LFSR or a signature register; this is called a builtin logic block observer ( BILBO ). By including the logic that we wish to test in the feedback path of an MISR, we can construct circular BIST structures. One of these is known as the circular selftest path ( CSTP ).
We can test compiled blocks including RAM, ROM, and datapath elements using an LFSR generator and a MISR. To generate all 2 n address values for a RAM or ROM we can modify the LFSR feedback path to force entrance and exit from the allzeros state. This is known as a complete LFSR . The pattern generator does not have to be an LFSR or exhaustive.
For example, if we were to apply an exhaustive test to a 4bit by 4bit multiplier this would require 2^{ 8} or 256 vectors. An 8bit by 8bit multiplier requires 65,536 vectors and, if it were possible to test a 32bit by 32bit multiplier exhaustively, it would require 1.8 ¥ 10^{ 19} vectors. Table 14.14 shows two sets of nonexhaustive test patterns, {SA} and {SAE}, if A and B are both 4 bits wide. The test sequences {SA} and {SAE} consist of nested sequences of walking 1’s and walking 0’s (S1 and S1B), walking pairs (S2 and S2B), and triplets (S3, S3B). The sequences are extended for larger inputs, so that, for example, {S2} is a sequence of seven vectors for an 8bit input and so on. Intermediate sequences {SX} and {SXB} are concatenated from S1, S2, and S3; and from S1B, S2B, and S3B respectively. These sequences are chosen to exercise as many of the addandcarry functions within the multiplier as possible.
TABLE 14.14 Multiplier test patterns. 1 

The sequence length of {SA} is 3A (B – 1), and 3(2A – 1)(3B – 2) for {SAE}, where A and B are the sizes of the multiplier inputs. For example, {SA} is 168 vectors for A = B = 8 and 2976 vectors for A = B = 32; {SAE} is 990 vectors (A = B = 8) and 17,766 vectors (A = B = 32). From fault simulation, the stuckat fault coverage is 93 percent for sequence {SA} and 97 percent for sequence {SAE}.
Figure 14.30 shows an MISR with a scan chain. We can now include the BIST logic as part of a boundaryscan chain, this approach is called scanBIST .

FIGURE 14.30 Multipleinput signature register (MISR) with scan generated from the MISR of Figure 14.29 . 
[ Chapter start ] [ Previous page ] [ Next page ]


