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Online Current Testing
October-December 1998 (vol. 15 no. 4)
pp. 49-56

As we approaching the deep-submicron era, the ever-increasing level of integration has begun to bring much attention to the product reliability. Besides the traditional critical, highly reliable and high safety missions, online VLSI testing will soon be needed in other fault-tolerant applications such as highly available, high maintainability and highly failure resilient missions. New on-ine testing methods must be used to provide cost efficiency in these not-so-critical applications. Analogous to the offline testing, we may examine either the voltage output or the current usage during online testing to determine the vitality of the circuit. Online current testing can be used with the traditional online (function) testing methods or can be used independently. Since there is a wide spectrum of fault tolerant missions and goals, the use of online current testing plus traditional methods will help fill the gaps.

When using only the current monitoring online, we have an option to reuse the existing on-chip current sensors for online testing. These sensors are an integral part of the circuit and have been placed to aid in production tests. Consequently, such a method needs no extra hardware and no extra designing effort. In other words, an IC chip equipped with built-in current sensors already has online testing potential.

Index Terms:
Availability, built-in current sensors, online current testing, reliability, safety.
Citation:
Jien-Chung Lo, "Online Current Testing," IEEE Design & Test of Computers, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 49-56, Oct.-Dec. 1998, doi:10.1109/54.735927
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