Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2012

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Sudhakar M. Reddy


The modern VLSI circuit designs manufactured with advanced technology nodes of 65nm or below exhibit an increasing sensitivity to the variations of manufacturing process. New design-specific and feature-sensitive failure mechanisms are on the rise. Systematic yield issues can be severe due to the complex variability involved in process and layout features. Without improved yield analysis methods, time-to-market is delayed, mature yield is suboptimal, and product quality may suffer, thereby undermining the profitability of the semiconductor company. Diagnosis-driven yield improvement is a methodology that leverages production test results, diagnosis results, and statistical analysis to identify the root cause of yield loss and fix the yield limiters to improve the yield.

To fully leverage fault diagnosis, the diagnosis-driven yield analysis requires that the diagnosis tool should provide high-quality diagnosis results in terms of accuracy and resolution. In other words, the diagnosis tool should report the real defect location without too much ambiguity. The second requirement for fast diagnosis-driven yield improvement is that the diagnosis tool should have the capability of processing a volume of failing dies within a reasonable time so that the statistical analysis can have enough information to identify the systematic yield issues.

In this dissertation, we first propose a method to accurately diagnose the defects inside the library cells when multi-cycle test patterns are used. The methods to diagnose the interconnect defect have been well studied for many years and are successfully practiced in industry. However, for process technology at 90nm or 65nm or below, there is a significant number of manufacturing defects and systematic yield limiters lie inside library cells. The existing cell internal diagnosis methods work well when only combinational test patterns are used, while the accuracy drops dramatically with multi-cycle test patterns. A method to accurately identify the defective cell as well as the failing conditions is presented. The accuracy can be improved up to 94% compared with about 75% accuracy for previous proposed cell internal diagnosis methods.

The next part of this dissertation addresses the throughput problem for diagnosing a volume of failing chips with high transistor counts. We first propose a static design partitioning method to reduce the memory footprint of volume diagnosis. A design is statically partitioned into several smaller sub-circuits, and then the diagnosis is performed only on the smaller sub-circuits. By doing this, the memory usage for processing the smaller sub-circuit can be reduced and the throughput can be improved. We next present a dynamic design partitioning method to improve the throughput and minimize the impact on diagnosis accuracy and resolution. The proposed dynamic design partitioning method is failure dependent, in other words, each failure file has its own design partition. Extensive experiments have been designed to demonstrate the efficiency of the proposed dynamic partitioning method.


Cell Internal Fault, Fault Diagnosis, Throughput, VLSI, Volume Diagnosis


x, 134 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 129-134).


Copyright 2012 Xiaoxin Fan