On-chip testing of A/D and D/A converters : static linearity testing without statistically known stimulus
Korhonen, Esa (2010-10-12)
The static linearity testing of analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters (ADCs and DACs) has traditionally required test instruments with higher linearity and resolution than that of the device under test. In this thesis ways to test converters without expensive precision instruments are studied. A novel calculation algorithm for the ADC differential non-linearity (DNL) and integral non-linearity (INL) estimation is proposed. The algorithm assumes that two stimuli with constant offset between them are applied to the ADC under test and that the code density histograms for both stimuli are recorded. The probability density function (PDF) of the stimulus is then solved using simple calculations so that DNL and INL of the ADC can be estimated without a priori known stimuli. If a DAC is used to generate the stimulus to ADC, all inputs and outputs are digital and the new algorithm can be used to obtain the PDF of the DAC output. Moreover, the PDF of DAC actually characterizes its INL and DNL so that this all-digital test configuration enables a simultaneous testing of both converters thanks to the new algorithm.
The proposed algorithm is analyzed thoroughly both mathematically and by carrying out several simulations and experimental tests. On the basis of the analysis it is possible to approximate the impending estimation error and select the optimal value for the offset between the stimuli. In theory, the accuracy of the algorithm proposed equals that of the standard histogram method with ideal stimulus, but in practice, the accuracy is limited by that of the offset between the stimuli. Therefore, special attention is paid to development of an accurate and small offset generator which enables ratiometric test setup and solves the problems in the case of reference voltage drift. The proposed on-chip offset generator is built using only four resistors and switches. It occupies 122·22 μm2 in a 130 nm CMOS process and accuracy is appropriate for the INL testing of 12-bit converters from rail-to-rail. Based on the analysis of the influence of resistor non-linearity on the accuracy of offset, it is possible to improve the offset generator further. With discrete resistors, the INL of 16-bit ADCs was tested using a 12-bit signal generator.
The proposed simple algorithm and tiny offset generator are considered to be important steps towards built-in DNL and INL testing of ADCs and DACs.
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