Matthew Grayson (Inventor), Seda Ogrenci Memik (Inventor)

Research output: Patent


Northwestern researchers have developed the Integrated On-Chip Thermocouple Array (IOTA) which monitors the thermal distribution across a microchip to an extremely fine resolution in real-time Abstract IOTA consists of thermocouple sensors fabricated on the microchip. This invention addresses many of the limitations that current temperature measurement techniques, such as diode and digital CMOS sensors, possess, making it an extremely sensitive and effective technology that further enhances the performance of microchips. IOTA consists of three unique parts: thermocouple array, thermal reference point circuitry, and a standard ADC. First, the thermocouple array is compatible with CMOS processing since it uses bimetallic on-chip thermocouples in an array design. The pure metallic composition of the thermocouples eliminates any sensitivity to temperature variation along routing paths. Second, the thermocouple leads are located in proximity to a common thermal reference point for the thermocouples. The temperatures of all thermocouple junctions within the array can therefore be determined relative to an absolute reference temperature at a single point of the chip. Third, a single ADC unit accommodates multiple thermocouples. Resource sharing enables a large number of thermocouples to be used without incurring high overhead. With a large number of thermocouples in the array, IOTA is capable of performing fine-grain runtime thermal characterization of microchips. Thermocouple voltage signal can be calibrated with high thermal accuracy and high reproducibility. IOTA scales extremely well.
Original languageEnglish
Patent number8517605
StatePublished - May 12 2011


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