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Designing robust asynchronous circuit components

Mohammadi, S. Furber, S. Garside, J.


Asynchronous circuits require components that display hazard-free operation under normal input conditions. In addition, quasi-delay-insensitive circuits are based on the assumption of isochronic forks, an assumption that can in practice be compromised by threshold variations due to the use of, for example, dynamic or pseudo-dynamic C-gate circuits. In the paper, the authors investigate the severity of these problems in practical circuits. It is shown that threshold variations are much less significant than has previously been assumed, but hazard-free operation is, by contrast, a much more significant problem. Gates with a stack of transistors in series can exhibit charge-sharing problems under specific input sequences that expose hazards that are not evident in the logic description. A design methodology is proposed which overcomes the charge-sharing problem, resulting in more robust circuits.

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