ICs designed for portable devices often make use of reverse-body bias (RBB) modes to limit leakage currents. The added complexity of RBB support circuitry presents a challenge during IC characterization and debug. This article discusses the nature of the problem and explains how to identify irregularities in circuits operating in the body-biased condition using standard debug tools with simple modifications. It describes some of the bugs discovered in an actual examination and explains how they were diagnosed by analyzing I-V curve traces and infrared emission microscopy (IREM) images.
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