An alternate design paradigm for low-power, low-cost, testable hybrid systems using scaled LTPS TFTs

Jing Li, Aditya Bansal, Swarop Ghosh, Kaushik Roy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This article presents a holistic hybrid design methodology for low-power, low-cost, testable digital designs using low-temperature polycrystalline-silicon thin-film transistors (LTPS TFTs). An alternate scaling rule under low thermal budget (due to flexible substrate) is developed to improve the performance of TFTs in the presence of process variation. We demonstrate that LTPS TFTs can be further optimized for ultralow-power subthreshold operation with performances comparable to contemporary single-crystal silicon-on-insulator (c-Si SOI) devices after process optimization. The optimized LTPS TFTs with high current drivability and less variability can comprise a promising low-cost option to augment Si CMOS technology, opening up a plethora of new hybrid 3D applications. We illustrate one such application: IC testing. Testing of complex VLSI systems is a prime concern due to design cost of DFT circuits, area/delay overheads, and poor test confidence. To harness the benefits of TFT technology, a novel low-power, process-tolerant, generic, and reconfigurable test structure designed using LTPS TFTs is proposed to reduce the test cost, as well as to improve diagnosability and verifiability, of complex VLSI systems. Due to proper optimization of TFT devices, the proposed test structure consumes low power but operates with reasonable performance. Furthermore, the test circuits do not consume any silicon area because they can be integrated on-chip using 3D technology. Since the test architecture is reconfigurable, this eliminates the need to redesign built-in-self-test (BIST) components that may vary from one processor generation to another. We have developed test structures using 200nm TFT devices and evaluated them on designs implemented in 130nm bulk CMOS. For circuit simulations, we have developed a SPICE-compatible model for TFT devices. The BIST components designed using the test structures operate at 0.8 - 4.3 GHz (compared to 8.2 GHz in bulk CMOS) with low power consumption. The enhanced scan cells partially implemented in TFT (3D hybrid design) consume ∼24% less power and ∼15 - 20% less area of Si die compared to conventional bulk-Si design (2D planar design), with minimal delay overhead.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13
JournalACM Journal on Emerging Technologies in Computing Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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