The measured delay time depends on the shape of the input curve and on the load at the output. Two conditions should hold: first, the inverter should only delay the signal without distorting it and secondly, the load at the output should be equal to the input impedance of the inverter. These conditions are provided by ring oscillators which are frequently used to measure the delay time of digital circuits . A ring oscillator consists of n = 2 . k + 1 inverters and the inverter delay time results to
A five-stage ring oscillator circuit is shown in Fig. 7.11. For both transistors a device width of W = 1 m was assumed. Normally, to achive equal noise margins, a ratio of Wp/Wn 2.5 is used to compensate for the poorer performance of the PMOS transistor . To model the influence of the interconnect circuitry, an additional load capacity of 5 fF was used. The operating point calculation of this circuit provided no problems. However, to force the circuit into a predefined initial state, the input voltage of the first inverter was set to zero during operating point calculation.
Two different ring oscillators have been simulated, one with the long-channel transistors, the other with the short-channel transistors. The respective simulation results are shown in Fig. 7.12 and Fig. 7.13. For the long-channel transistors, the simulation results obtained with the DD and HD transport models agree so closely, that in the graph no differences are visible. However, when using the short-channel devices, the differences are significant. This is due to the larger currents resulting from the HD transport model. The charging and discharging times of an inverter chain is given as