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The Shortest Path Deception


When manufacturing, assembling, and using integrated circuit (IC) chips, the electrostatic discharge (ESD) caused by accumulated static can damage the IC circuitry if the circuit is not properly protected [1]. To prevent such damage, ESD protection devices are designed into the circuitry such that they will create a low impedance path that limits the peak voltage and current by diverting excess... » read more

Impact Of GAA Transistors At 3/2nm


The chip industry is poised for another change in transistor structure as gate-all-around (GAA) FETs replace finFETs at 3nm and below, creating a new set of challenges for design teams that will need to be fully understood and addressed. GAA FETs are considered an evolutionary step from finFETs, but the impact on design flows and tools is still expected to be significant. GAA FETs will offer... » read more

Advanced mm-Wave And Terahertz Measurements With Cascade Probe Stations


The strong market needs to embed multiple functionalities from different semiconductor processing technologies into a single system continue to drive demands for more advanced 3DIC packaging technologies. Dimensions of copper pillar micro-bumps are consistently reduced in every new technology node to facilitate the 3D stacking of multiple dies so that overall system performance can be improved.... » read more

Slower Metal Bogs Down SoC Performance


Metal interconnect delays are rising, offsetting some of the gains from faster transistors at each successive process node. Older architectures were born in a time when compute time was the limiter. But with interconnects increasingly viewed as the limiter on advanced nodes, there’s an opportunity to rethink how we build systems-on-chips (SoCs). ”Interconnect delay is a fundamental tr... » read more

Lower Resistance Protects Against Failure In IC Design


By Fady Fouad, Esraa Swillam, and Jeff Wilson When you’re fighting off a threat, you typically want all the resistance you can muster. In IC design, on the other hand, minimizing resistance is crucial to success in power structure design. As metals get narrower with technology node advances, resistance levels rise, and voltage drop (IR) and electromigration (EM) issues grow, both in number... » read more

Analog Simulation At 7/5/3nm


Hany Elhak, group director of product management at Cadence, talks with Semiconductor Engineering about analog circuit simulation at advanced nodes, why process variation is an increasing problem, the impact of parasitics and finFET stacking, and what happens when gate-all-around FETs are added into the chip. » read more

Speed Up P2P Resistance Debugging With Selective Highlighting


Point-to-point (P2P) resistance simulation calculates the effective parasitic resistance from one or more specified points (sources) to another set of points (sinks) on an integrated circuit (IC) layout. The results of these simulations are a key component in the verification of the robustness and reliability of IC layout interconnect—designers must have this information to accurately perform... » read more

Connecting Wafer-Level Parasitic Extraction And Netlisting


The semiconductor technology simulation world is typically divided into device-level TCAD (technology CAD) and circuit-level compact modeling. Larger EDA companies provide high-level design simulation tools that perform LVS (layout vs. schematic), DRC (design rule checking), and many other software solutions that facilitate the entire design process at the most advanced technology nodes. In thi... » read more

The Growing Challenge Of Thermal Guard-Banding


Guard-banding for heat is becoming more difficult as chips are used across a variety of new and existing applications, forcing chipmakers to architect their way through increasingly complex interactions. Chips are designed to operate at certain temperatures, and it is common practice to develop designs with some margin to ensure correct functionality and performance throughout the operat... » read more

Boosting Analog Reliability


Aveek Sarkar, vice president of Synopsys’ Custom Compiler Group, talks about challenges with complex design rules, rigid design methodologies, and the gap between pre-layout and post-layout simulation at finFET nodes. https://youtu.be/JRYlYJ31LLw » read more

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