Studying the effects of intermittent faults on a microcontroller

Autores UPV
Revista Microelectronics Reliability


As CMOS technology scales to the nanometer range, designers have to deal with a growing number and variety of fault types. Particularly, intermittent faults are expected to be an important issue in modern VLSI circuits. The complexity of manufacturing processes, producing residues and parameter variations, together with special aging mechanisms, may increase the presence of such faults. This work presents a case study of the impact of intermittent faults on the behavior of a commercial microcontroller. In order to carry out an exhaustive reliability assessment, the methodology used lies in VHDL-based fault injection technique. In this way, a set of intermittent fault models at logic and register transfer abstraction levels have been generated and injected in the VHDL model of the system. From the simulation traces, the occurrences of failures and latent errors have been logged. The impact of intermittent faults has been also compared to that got when injecting transient and permanent faults. Finally, some injection experiments have been reproduced in a RISC microprocessor and compared with those of the microcontroller. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.