Analog IC design across PVT conditions, something new

Analog IC design across PVT conditions, something new
by Daniel Payne on 08-30-2018 at 12:00 pm

Transistor-level design for full-custom and analog circuits has long been a way for IC design companies to get the absolute best performance out of silicon and keep ahead of the competition. One challenge to circuit designers is meeting all of the specs across all Process, Voltage and Temperature (PVT) corners, so that silicon… Read More


Approaches for EM, IR and Thermal Analysis of ICs

Approaches for EM, IR and Thermal Analysis of ICs
by Daniel Payne on 04-26-2017 at 12:10 pm

As an engineer I’ve learned how to trade off using various EDA tools based on the accuracy requirements and the time available to complete a project. EDA vendors have been offering software tools to help us with reliability concerns like EM, IR drop and thermal analysis for several years now. Last week I attended a webinar … Read More


Why is Low Frequency Noise Measurement for ICs Such a Big Deal?

Why is Low Frequency Noise Measurement for ICs Such a Big Deal?
by Daniel Payne on 09-27-2016 at 12:00 pm

Even digital designers need to be aware of how noise impacts their circuits because most clocked designs today use a Phase Locked Loop (PLL) block which contains a circuit called a Voltage Controlled Oscillator (VCO) that is quite sensitive in operation to the effects of noise and process variation. As process node scaling continues… Read More


Three Steps for Custom IC Design Migration and Optimization

Three Steps for Custom IC Design Migration and Optimization
by Daniel Payne on 08-31-2016 at 7:00 am

Popular companies designing smart phones, CPUs, GPUs and Memory components all employ teams of custom IC designers to create the highest performance chips that are as small as possible, and at the lowest costs. How do they go about doing custom IC design migration and optimization when moving from one process node to another one?… Read More


Low Frequency Noise Challenges IC Designs

Low Frequency Noise Challenges IC Designs
by Daniel Payne on 08-28-2016 at 7:00 am

AMS and RF IC designers have known for years that their circuits are sensitive to noise, because if you amplify noise on an input source to an amplifier circuit then your chip can start to produce wrong answers. Even digital SoC designers need to start taking notice because every SoC is filled with SRAM IP blocks, and at each shrinking… Read More


IC Designers talk about 28nm to 7nm challenges at #53DAC

IC Designers talk about 28nm to 7nm challenges at #53DAC
by Daniel Payne on 06-20-2016 at 12:00 pm

IC design challenges are different at advanced nodes like 7nm, so to learn more about the topic I attended a panel luncheon at DAC sponsored by Cadence. The moderator was both funny and technically astute, quite the rare combination, so kudos to Professor Rob Rutenbar, a former Neolinear guy now at the University of Illinois. Panelists… Read More


Custom IC Design Flow with OpenAccess

Custom IC Design Flow with OpenAccess
by Daniel Payne on 03-18-2016 at 12:00 pm

Imagine being able to use any combination of EDA vendor tools for schematic capture, SPICE circuit simulation, layout editing, place & route, DRC, LVS and extraction. On the foundry side, how about creating just a single Process Development Kit (PDK), instead of vendor-specific kits. Well, this is the basic premise of a recent… Read More


IC Design and OpenAccess

IC Design and OpenAccess
by Daniel Payne on 03-06-2016 at 12:00 pm

EDA vendors have long used proprietary file and database formats to keep their users locked into their specific tool flow and keep any competitors from sharing in the IC design process. Along the way the actual users of EDA tools have often requested and helped to create interoperable flows so that they could mix and match multiple… Read More


Device Noise Analysis, What Not to Do for AMS IC Designs

Device Noise Analysis, What Not to Do for AMS IC Designs
by Daniel Payne on 07-24-2015 at 12:00 pm

AMS IC designers have a lot to think about when crafting transistor-level designs to meet specifications and schedules, so the most-used tool in their kit is the trusted SPICE or FastSPICE circuit simulator to help analyze timing, power, sensitivity and even device noise. I just did a Google search for “device noise analysisRead More


Methodology Help for Analog IC Designers

Methodology Help for Analog IC Designers
by Daniel Payne on 12-25-2014 at 7:00 am

Digital designers are more numerous than analog IC designers, and so they tend to get more attention from EDA vendors in terms of tools and automation methodologies. For an analog design team with specialists focused separately on schematics and layout there are several methodology questions that need to be addressed, like:… Read More