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Design of Systems on a Chip: Design and Test

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This book is the second of two volumes addressing the design challenges associated with new generations of semiconductor technology. The various chapters are compiled from tutorials presented at workshops in recent years by prominent authors from all over the world. Technology, productivity and quality are the main aspects under consideration to establish the major requirements for the design and test of upcoming systems on a chip.

Chips are nowadays part of every equipment, system or application that embeds electronics. Contrarily to the first decades that followed the transistor invention, the semiconductors market is presently one of the most important segments of the world economy and has become strategic for any country that plans to get some technology independence. In fact, this technology context tends to prevail in next years, since the electronic world will continue expanding fastly through the internet and the wireless communication.

Currently, in a single chip of tenths of square milimeters it is possible to integrate hundreds of thousands of transistors and hundreds of passive components. These chips are real integrated systems and, because of that, they are called systems on a chip. The performance of these systems reaches few gigahertz, while the power consumption is of the order of milliwatts. In fact, the growth of the integration density in microelectronics technologies has followed very closely the Moore’s Law announced in the sixties: every year the integration density will double, resulting in an exponential growth along the years. Additionally to the increasing electronics density, technology advances have allowed to integrate heterogeneous parts on the same substrate. Digital, analog, thermal, mechanical, optical, fluidic and other esoteric functions can now be put together into the same chip (ITRS, 1999; ITRS, 2003). This obviously adds to chip complexity.

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