A Self-Testable SiGe LNA and Built-in-Self-Test Methodology for Multiple Performance Specifications of RF Amplifiers

Abhilash Goyal1,  Madhavan Swaminathan2,  Abhijit Chatterjee2,  Duane Howard2,  John Cressler2
1Oracle, Santa Clara, CA, USA, 2GaTech, Atlanta, USA


Abstract

In this paper, a self-testable SiGe low noise amplifier (LNA) is designed and a Built-in-Self-Test (BIST) methodology is proposed for amplifiers embedded in RF systems. In this BIST methodology, the RF amplifier has the capability to simultaneously test multiple performance specifications on-chip, including Gain and P1dB. The self-testable LNA can be placed in a testing mode, in which it self-generates a signature of its health using oscillation principles. It eliminates the requirement of any external test stimulus for testing purposes, thus enables the possibility of self-testable RF designs. For the proof of concept, the presented SiGe LNA is designed to operate in the X-band (9.0 GHz) in a commercially-available 6 metal layer, 0.18 ┬Ám, 120 GHz SiGe BiCMOS platform. This self-testing design concept can be extended to CMOS amplifiers as well. Furthermore, in this paper, the built-in-self-test methodology is demonstrated using board-level as well as chip-level prototypes.