Analog Chip Layout: Creativity Vs. Deadlines


The entire design of integrated circuits, from the specification onward, depends on successful validation by measurement of microchips. One key milestone in this process is the completion of the layout. However, the path to reach this point can be quite difficult as many iterations are usually required. It includes: Iterations with the customer to finalize the specification. Iteratio... » read more

Establishing Connectivity Between Die and BGA


The BGA component serves the primary role of redistributing the signals from the die it protects to an interface pattern (the BGA’s balls) compatible with the host PCB it mounts on. As a result, many IC package designs are among those who do not use a front-end schematic. Even if you have a schematic, you may find yourself making logic swaps in the layout where the additional context of the r... » read more

Make Acute Angles A Sharp Problem Of The Past


Sharp angles, whether they create a spike in a poured shape or form an acid trap between two different pieces of metal, are a problem for us all. As designers, we will go out of our way to try and avoid creating these situations; they will still creep into your design despite the best of intentions. How, then, can you efficiently rid your design of them with the minimal change to your routin... » read more

Best Practices And Constraint Management Tools Speed RF Design For The IoT


By Jim Martens and David Zima The IoT has increased the demand for good radio frequency (RF) design practices from the mains, to wall outlet power, all the way to the antenna. With several IoT standards employed today, constraint management has become critical to ensuring that designs meet product performance and reliability. Even the simplest of IoT designs can benefit from constraint ma... » read more

Choosing Between Static and Dynamic Shapes


That title might be a touch misleading. We’re not here to talk about why to convert shapes between static and dynamic. Rather, I want to talk about why you should NOT be doing this. Every design has some conductor shapes in it (or at least a very large percentage of them). What style to use is a choice that will impact performance through your entire flow; let the shape’s purpose guide you.... » read more

Don’t Get Stranded On Islands, Delete Them


No, this isn’t a Hollywood movie. We’re talking about pieces of plane shapes with no connections to them, not an idyllic private oasis in the Caribbean (sorry). Removing shape islands is something you’ve always been able to do in the Allegro layout environments, but the flow for achieving this has improved significantly in recent years. Come with us, and we’ll compare what the flow u... » read more

2.5D, 3D Power Integrity


Chris Ortiz, principal applications engineer at ANSYS, zeroes in on some common issues that are showing up in 2.5D and 3D packaging, which were not obvious in the initial implementations of these packaging technologies. This includes everything from how to build a power delivery network to minimize the coupling between chips to dealing with variability and power integrity and placement of diffe... » read more

Can Machine Learning Chips Help Develop Better Tools With Machine Learning?


As we continue to be bombarded with AI- and machine learning-themed presentations at industry conferences, an ex-colleague told me that he is sick of seeing an outline of the human head with a processor in place of the brain. If you are a chip architect trying to build one of these data-centric architecture chips for machine learning or AI (as opposed to the compute-centric chips, which you pro... » read more

10nm And 7nm Routability – How Is Your CAD Flow Doing?


At DesignCon in January, I was a panelist at a panel session entitled “Power Integrity For 10nm/7nm SoCs - Overcoming Physical Design Challenges And TAT.” I was on the panel together with Arvind Vel, Sr. Director Applications Engineering, ANSYS, Inc. and Ruggero Castagnetti, Distinguished Engineer, Broadcom Limited. This topic is of course extremely broad, but it was interesting getting fee... » read more

Correct-By-Design Methodology Requires Carefully Defined Constraints


Since the dawn of PCB usage, constraints have been an important part of the design. What are the dimensions? What weight of copper? Now, constraints have become much more than just physical dimensions. The most important constraints are defined by the design requirements of differential pairs, BGAs, low voltage devices, and high-speed parallel interfaces. The cost of rework skyrockets the fu... » read more

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