Analysis and Design of Robust Multi-Gb/s Clock and Data Recovery Circuits
Rennie, David J.
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The bandwidth demands of modern computing systems have been continually increasing and the recent focus on parallel processing will only increase the demands placed on data communication circuits. As data rates enter the multi-Gb/s range, serial data communication architectures become attractive as compared to parallel architectures. Serial architectures have long been used in fibre optic systems for long-haul applications, however, in the past decade there has been a trend towards multi-Gb/s backplane interconnects. The integration of clock and data recovery (CDR) circuits into monolithic integrated circuits (ICs) is attractive as it improves performance and reduces the system cost, however it also introduces new challenges, one of which is robustness. In serial data communication systems the CDR circuit is responsible for recovering the data from an incoming data stream. In recent years there has been a great deal of research into integrating CDR circuits into monolithic ICs. Most research has focused on increasing the bandwidth of the circuits, however in order to integrate multi-Gb/s CDR circuits robustness, as well as performance, must be considered. In this thesis CDR circuits are analyzed with respect to their robustness. The phase detector is a critical block in a CDR circuit and its robustness will play a significant role in determining the overall performance in the presence of process non-idealities. Several phase detector architectures are analyzed to determine the effects of process non-idealities. Static phase offsets are introduced as a figure of merit for phase detectors and a mathematical framework is described to characterize the negative effects of static phase offsets on CDR circuits. Two approaches are taken to improve the robustness of CDR circuits. First, calibration circuits are introduced which correct for static phase offsets in CDR circuits. Secondly, phase detector circuits are introduced which have been designed to optimize both performance and robustness. Several prototype chips which implement these schemes will be described and measured results will be presented. These results show that while CDR circuits are vulnerable to the effects of process non-idealities, there are circuit techniques which can mitigate many of these concerns.