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Silicon-Accurate Mixed-Signal Fractional-N PLL IP Design Paper

Silicon-Accurate Mixed-Signal Fractional-N PLL IP Design Paper
by Daniel Nenni on 10-12-2012 at 8:00 am

 Silicon Creations will be presenting a paper with Berkeley Design Automation at the TSMC Open Innovation Platform (OIP) Ecosystem Forum next week where TSMC’s design ecosystem member companies and customers share real-case solutions for design challenges within TSMC’s design ecosystem:

This presentation will describe the challenges in achieving silicon-accurate design and verification of a fractional-N PLL IP fabricated in the TSMC 28nm HP process. Silicon Creations supplies high-performance semi-custom analog and mixed-signal IP that can be optimized for each individual application. The designs include PLLs, DC-to-DC converters, data converters, high-speed I/O, and SerDes. Silicon Creations uses the Analog FastSPICE™ (AFS) Platform from Berkeley Design Automation for nanometer circuit verification. With the AFS Platform, designers increase their productivity and can perform large analog circuit signoff with nanometer SPICE accuracy. AFS is certified in TSMC SPICE-Qualification Programand AFS device noise sub-flow validated in TSMC AMS Reference Flow.

This paper provides details on the verification of programmable delta-sigma fractional-N PLL IP used as a multi-function, general purpose frequency synthesizer. The post-layout netlist of this circuit includes ~108 K elements with ~18.1 K MOS devices. The IP was fabricated using the TSMC 28nm HP process. AFS was used to characterize the VCO and to verify the closed-loop behavior of the post-layout PLL. For the VCO, the dominant noise source of the PLL, AFS Periodic Noise analysis was used to characterize the circuit over 12 temperature, frequency, and process corners, with excellent silicon correlation. For the postlayout closed-loop PLL verification, AFS demonstrated up to 18X speedup when compared with traditional SPICE for locking simulation and AFS Transient Noise results for PLL phase noise were within1-2 dB of silicon measurement.

 For more information, see

Silicon Creations offers high-value integrated circuit design services. As product specifications continually grow more aggressive, trade-offs between performance, power, and area frequently require custom-optimized solutions that are not found with traditional off-the-shelf IP. Silicon Creations supplies high performance custom analog and mixed signal designs that can be optimized for each individual system.

Silicon Creations is focused on providing world class silicon IP for precision and general purpose timing (PLLs), Chip-chip SerDes and high-speed differential IOs. Silicon Creations’ IP is proven from 28n to 180n. With a complete commitment to customer success their IP has an excellent record of first silicon to mass production in customer’s designs. Silicon Creations was founded in 2006 is self-funded and growing. The company has development centers in Atlanta, GA and Krakow, Poland and world-wide sales representation. For more information, visit

[TABLE] style=”width: 100%”
| align=”left” valign=”top” style=”width: 540px” | Berkeley Design[SUP]®[/SUP] Automation(BDA[SUP]®[/SUP]), Inc. is the recognized leader in nanometer circuit verification. Analog, mixed-signal, RF, and custom digital circuitry are the biggest differentiators in nanometer integrated circuits. Implemented in GHz nanometer CMOS, these circuits introduce a new class of verification challenges that traditional transistor-level simulators cannot adequately address. Accurately characterizing these circuits’ performance is essential to our customers’ silicon success.

Berkeley Design Automation delivers the world’s fastest nanometer circuit verification platform, Analog FastSPICE Platform, together with exceptional application expertise to uniquely address our customers’ challenges. More than 100 companies worldwide rely on Berkeley Design Automation to verify their nanometer-scale circuits.
The AFS Platform is a single executable that seamlessly integrates into the industry’s leading design environment to deliver:

  • 5x-10x faster nanometer SPICE accurate simulation on a single core

    • Certified to 28nm by the world’s leading foundries
    • >120 dB transient dynamic range
    • 2x-4x more performance via 4-8 core multithreading
  • Industry’s most accurate and efficient analog/RF circuit characterization

    • Full-spectrum device noise analysis silicon-correlated within 1-2 dB
    • Near-linear performance scaling with increasing number of cores
  • Fastest full-circuit and post-layout transistor-level verification

    • Industry’s fastest near-SPICE-accurate functional verification
    • >10M-element capacity with no accuracy degradation
    • Mixed-mode co-simulation with leading Verilog simulators

Berkeley Design Automation has received numerous industry awards and is widely recognized for its technology leadership and contributions to the electronics industry. The company is privately held and backed by Woodside Fund, Bessemer Venture Partners, Panasonic Corp., NTT Corp., IT-Farm, and MUFJ Capital.

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