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Does Cascading Schmitt-Trigger Stages Improve the Metastable Behavior?

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Document pages: 8 pages

Abstract: Schmitt-Trigger stages are the method of choice for robust discretization ofinput voltages with excessive transition times or significant noise. However,they may suffer from metastability. Based on the experience that the cascadingof flip-flop stages yields a dramatic improvement of their overallmetastability hardness, in this paper we elaborate on the question whether thecascading of Schmitt-Trigger stages can obtain a similar gain. We perform atheoretic analysis that is backed up by an existing metastability model for asingle Schmitt-Trigger stage and elaborate some claims about the behavior of aSchmitt-Trigger cascade. These claims suggest that the occurrence ofmetastability is indeed reduced from the first stage to the second whichsuggests an improvement. On the downside, however, it becomes clear thatmetastability can still not be completely ruled out, and in some cases thebehavior of the cascade may be less beneficial for a given application, e.g. byintroducing seemingly acausal transitions. We validate our findings byextensive HSPICE simulations in which we directly cover our most importantclaims.

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