Agile Analog has designed an IR Drop Sensor for its growing library of analog IP. This is an important safety feature for designers as it monitors for voltage drops when current flows through a resistor, which is called IR drop, and can affect the timing of a chip and could result in functional failures if this happens in a critical part of the design.
The agileIR Drop consists of a voltage reference and comparator(s) set at different threshold levels for multi-level detection. The number of trigger outputs can be customized, and each threshold can be adjusted during operation to support DVFS operation. A four-output configuration is shown in the block diagram.
It has been designed for low power consumption so that it can be used in battery-operated devices if required which will have power supply changes as the cells discharge. The active current is in the order of 120 uA with a power-down current of less than 1 uA. As befits a safety device, it has a fast detection time of typically 25 nanoseconds. The threshold accuracy is 5% and 1% when trimmed with a step size of typically 20 mV.
Traditionally, analog IP blocks have to be manually redesigned for each application and process technology but Agile Analog has a unique way to automatically generate analog IP to exactly meet the customer’s specifications and process technology. Called Composa, it uses tried and tested analog IP circuits that are in the company’s Composa library. Effectively, the design-once-and-re-use-many-times model of digital IP now applies to analog IP for the first time. As the analog IP circuits in the Composa library have been extensively tested and used in previous designs, and are fully validated every time they are generated, this gives a similar level of reassurance to the digital IP world’s ‘silicon-proven’. All the major foundries are supported including TSMC, GlobalFoundries, Samsung Foundry, and SMIC as well as other IC foundries and manufacturers.