Brown University School of Engineering

Backside Optical Probing of Integrated Circuits for Design Debug

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012 12:30pm - 1:30pm

Computer Engineering Seminar Professor Gary Woods, Rice University Backside Optical Probing of Integrated Circuits for Design Debug Date & Location: Wednesday Dec 19th 12:30 pm - 01:30 pm at B &H 190 Lunch (pizza) and drinks will be provided starting 12:15 pm Abstract: In the design cycle of integrated circuits (ICs) it is axiomatic that the "first silicon" manufactured by the foundry will not be ready for shipping as a product. At least one major design re-spin will be required before the IC is commercially viable. This is due to design "bugs" and also to circuit marginality due to process variability. A year or more often elapses between first silicon and revenue shipments. In the quest for debugging and re-spinning ICs as rapidly as possible, a wide range of techniques have been developed. Among the more exotic of these are a number of optical probing techniques. In general, the goal of optical probing is to provide oscilloscope-like functionality: voltage vs. time information from individual nodes inside an operating IC. By performing optical probing through the backside of a silicon die, every transistor becomes visible. A number of weak but useful electro-optic effects are used to perform optical probing. This talk will describe some optical probing techniques based on laser probing, laser stimulation, and passive detection of emission, and will present some interesting case studies. Bio: Gary Woods is a Professor in the Practice at Rice University in the Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, where he has been since 2008. He obtained a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Stanford University in 1997, studying mid-infrared laser probing of quantum well devices. Prior to joining Rice University, he worked in Silicon Valley for Intel Corp. and two startup companies and as a consultant, mostly in developing and utilizing optical probing techniques for ICs. He has provided training seminars at various companies and institutions in these techniques and has worked with several major semiconductor companies to debug particularly thorny problems. He has about 30 publications and 12 issued patents in these fields. Host: Professor Sherief Reda