Understanding Fabless IC Technology This page intentionally left blank Understanding Fabless IC Technology Jeorge S. Download Understanding Fabless IC Technology (Communication pdf · Read Online Understanding Fabless IC Technology (Communicati pdf. Fabless (no fabrication) IC (integrated circuit) techniques are growing rapidly and promise to become the standard method of IC manufacturing.
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Fabless (no fabrication) IC (integrated circuit) techniques are growing rapidly and promise to become the standard method of IC manufacturing in the near future. Understanding Fabless IC Technology focuses on the differences between the IDM and fabless business model and provides the reader with an overview of. In , top fabless companies spent nearly $33 billion on COGS That's up a startling . deeply understand design issues, and begin to improve yield prior When a product using new technology (such as 10nm-. 14nm) is.
The key to the outsourcing strategy for IDMs is collaboration. As shown in Figure 1. In sharp contrast, most of the foundry locations are in Taiwan, Singapore and China, and to a much lesser degree in the rest of the other countries.
Of interest is also the product specialization trend across the various manufacturing regions. Figure 2.
TSMC leads the pack with a market share of Another metric for foundry revenue and market share is revenue per wafer produced. IBS Figure 2. Company Reports Figure 2. Very few integrated device manufacturers IDMs perform percent of the packaging themselves, as the number of packaging types in the industry numbers in the multi hundreds and most IDMs are unwilling to invest in all the necessary equipment.
Further, many IDMs particularly high-performance IC manufacturers focus on leading-edge packaging technologies in-house, but often leverage low-cost outsourcers in Asia for the mainstream processes.
Still others particularly low-cost producers perform most of the bulk processes in-house but may contract out some of the higher-performance packages.
Test functions are often conducted in the same facility as packaging and assembly. However, many fabless companies may outsource their device packaging, but will perform testing in-house; this allows for faster design flaw identification. Almost all test activity is conducted in the Far East, as it is more labor-intensive than front-end processes and also carries less stringent clean room requirements.
ASE provided photos Figures 2. Gartner Dataquest Figure 2. The top two vendors in by revenue were ASE and Amkor, with a combined market share of 30 percent. Applied Materials leads the pack with a market share estimated at Gartner Dataquest April SEMI Figure 2. At the same time, the industry shifted away from vertically integrated manufacturing toward a focus on core competencies.
Companies began subcontracting activities they deemed lower in value, including a new emphasis on wafer manufacturing. The catalyst for this situation started in the early s.
Junk-bond financed-leveraged downloadouts and corporate raider takeovers resulted in corporations that were torn apart because the sum of the constituent parts was worth more than the whole. The spillover effect was that corporations sought to increase their stock price through divestiture while shifting investments to areas that offered a competitive advantage. This trend challenged the long-held belief in market power gained through vertical integration.
Given these events, the uncoupling of semiconductor design and manufacturing became not only viable but also preferred for most semiconductor product areas. Their execution methodology effectively uses the optimum technology that wafer foundries can offer. However, before examining in more detail the common threads that run through successful fabless companies, it is important to understand the main categories of companies that have thrived in this model. This expansion, in turn, drove the corresponding growth of networking application-focused fabless semiconductor companies as well as the acquisition of many fabless start-up companies.
Specific areas include Ethernet physical layer and switching products, broadband access devices such as digital subscriber line DSL and cable modem chipsets and telecom data path devices such as SONET framers and network processors. Today, this market has blossomed into one of the most successful examples of the fabless model at work and has thrived because of competition and the fact that no one company has completely dominated the market.
The fabless model for processor companies is continually being validated as new-generation, specialized processors from Intrinsity and Xelerated are pushing the envelope on both circuit design and processor architecture.
The DRAM market is rapidly concentrating to a few dominant suppliers who own their fabs. SRAMs and CAMs are niches that have experienced an explosion of interface types, configurations and packaging options and are pushing state-of-the art for logic process technologies from foundries. ISSI have thrived in this environment and have added a twist — foundry partnerships. Successful fabless companies all possess a set of common key qualities. Chartered Figure 3. This effect became more pronounced in the networking industry, for example, after the downturn in , which was precipitated by too much inventory and the dot.
Weaker players and start-ups, in particular, have experienced a difficult time. For example, in the edge router market that Cisco continues to dominate, Juniper acquired the number-three player, Unisphere, to strengthen its number-two position, and more recent entrants have been acquired or struggled and eventually ceased operations.
This concept must be translated into revenue by engaging and winning market leaders early in the design cycle. These design wins need to be in markets that have enough growth and longevity to generate sustained revenue and returns. In addition, as an increasing amount of system design is being pushed onto semiconductor makers, being the primary source on a reference design can increase revenue potential greatly for platforms that have become widely adopted by market-leading original equipment manufacturers.
Tools and methodologies are keys to enabling a team of wellmanaged, talented engineers to execute successfully.
Understanding Fabless IC Technology
Logically verified RVT can be taken to tapeout in a matter of weeks. This feature can enable key pieces of the design to be evaluated and debugged before committing to a dedicated mask. While this correlation tends to be exaggerated, it does reflect that these companies were unable to achieve the next level of growth when they lost focus on driving out costs. Given that the fabless model enables a huge fixed-cost burden to be shifted to the foundry partner, fabless semiconductor companies naturally seem well suited to manage costs.
While a focus on driving down costs is influenced by many factors, it is important for fabless companies to work closely with their foundry partner to use a process technology that optimally balances die cost, performance and technology risk when the design ramps to production.
For new designs, missing a market window means the difference between success and absolute failure, so process technology risks must be minimal, even if the yielded die cost may not be the lowest. Successful market penetration can be the springboard for die shrinks along with feature and performance enhancements.
However, with the fabless semiconductor company, two primary functional areas must work together for success, regardless of the strength of the chief executive officer CEO , the other key executives or the manufacturing partners: The synchronization of these two disciplines results in execution of the right products at the right time for the market. Marketing builds and fosters customer relationships to gain insight into true market requirements that it uses to develop a sustainable chain of products that propel the company.
Failure to synchronize this process between marketing and engineering results in products that miss the market window and market requirements. Synchronization is vitally important in a ruthlessly competitive environment, because being almost right is often no better than being completely wrong.
The fabless model will continue to thrive as long as fabless companies leverage the model to focus on the key qualities for success. The model gives them the best opportunity to deliver the right products at the right time and meet the challenge of thriving in a fluid market that presents an ever-increasing amount of uncertainty and promise. Semiconductors are manufactured in specialized factories, or wafer fabrication facilities. IDMs may have their own fabs to manufacture these wafers, or they may choose to outsource this process to foundries, as the industry is seeing this trend increasing each year.
In general, devices fabricated using a CMOS process will be less expensive to manufacture, as well as consume less power than devices fabricated using other processes. When connected to a power source, compound semiconductors can perform highly specialized functions — especially those involving certain compounds more suited to specific types of applications, such as high-speed communications or power management and amplification.
Silicon Germanium SiGe is a commonly used compound for high-speed physical layer devices in wireline communications e. Gallium Arsenide GaAs is a direct bandgap compound semiconductor material with inherent high electron mobility property 6x of Silicon.
GaAs is often used in wireless handsets and 41 Chapter 4 set-top boxes, as it is better suited to radio frequency RF applications. It is also used in optoelectronic devices for wired communications.
Indium Phosphide InP is used in high-power and high-frequency electronics because of its superior electron velocity with respect to the more common semiconductors silicon and GaAs.
It also has a direct bandgap, making it useful for optoelectronics devices like laser diodes e. Optical networking, digital instrumentation, microwave communications. This technology has commercial application in amplifier and discrete component logic design e. Wireless applications. Ideal for high working-temperature and high-power, high-frequency RF devices e. RF power transistors. Several advantages of compound semiconductors include superior performance characteristics over silicon.
Wafer Production: Prior to wafer fabrication, polycrystalline silicon that contain dopants that can modify conductivity is melted down.
From the melted silicon, ingots are grown and then shaped and sliced into thin wafers so the process can begin. Wafer Processing: Thermal Oxidation: The wafers are pre-cleaned using high-purity de-ionized water and various low-particulate chemicals, a must for high-yield production. The silicon wafers are heated to approximately 1, degrees C and exposed to ultra-pure oxygen in the oxidation furnace. This process is used to transfer circuit patterns onto the wafer.
Beams of light are projected through a patterned reticle mask onto the wafer that is covered with a photosensitive material that etches a circuit into the wafer to expose the resist. This process is often compared to photography and creating images from film.
Materials are removed during several steps using multiple tools. It is then exposed to a chemical wet 42 Semiconductor Manufacturing Basics solution or plasma gas discharge so that areas not covered by the hardened photo resist are etched away.
The first photolithography etch process will result in a pattern. Before moving to the next step, the wafer is optically inspected to assure that the image transfer from the mask to the top silicon layer is correct. There are often several lithography and etch steps when manufacturing a wafer. Subsequent layers of various patterned materials are formed on the wafer to create the multiple layers of circuit patterns on a single chip.
The doping process controls the flow of electricity through the chip. It allows for certain areas of the wafer to be exposed to chemicals that change its ability to conduct electricity. Interconnections are formed at the portions of the chip where electricity is conducted. A metal usually copper is then electroplated on the entire wafer surface.
Metal can be chemically and mechanically polished away if it is unneeded. All of these metal interconnects form pathways that must connect for the chip to function properly. First, the wafer is run through a wafer sort process, which detects the electrical performance of each chip on the wafer. The chips that fail are marked and discarded later after a diamond saw or laser separates them.
The remaining chips are visually inspected under a high-power microscope before being packaged. The device is then encapsulated, sealed and markings are affixed. A wire bonding machine attaches wires, a fraction of the width of a human hair, to the leads of the package. Once the chips are packaged, they each go through another round of testing prior to delivery to the customer. Over the years, wafer sizes have increased to allow more die to fit on the surface, resulting in reduced manufacturing cost.
The cost factor is the sole reason companies choose to use larger wafers. No other advantages exist today, as a larger wafer does not improve chip performance for the semiconductor company or provide any other benefits. Moving to larger wafer sizes includes equipping fabs with new equipment, which can be costly to a fabrication facility.
Transitioning to larger wafers only occurs every few years, and the time gaps in between sizes are increasing with each move.
The move to millimeter inch wafers will not likely occur until the — timeframe. Direct, fixed costs include: Based on these, plus other factors, many companies are now allowing the pure-play foundries to incur the costs. As a result, more companies currently owning fabrication facilities are finding that it makes sense to outsource the fabrication process to pure-play foundries instead of equipping and maintaining older fabs with expensive, state-of-the-art equipment.
And, even within the fabless model, there have been a variety of permutations and adjustments, usually dictated by some macro-economic trend that forces companies to think differently about how they can most efficiently get products to market.
That same focus on efficiencies and economies of scale has permeated many other aspects of the semiconductor value chain, resulting in a further refinement of the fabless semiconductor business model: This enabled these companies to focus on what they knew best — the needs of their customers and their specific markets — and let the ASIC suppliers be the experts in the design and manufacture of semiconductors.
Because the required technology was not readily available from third parties, early ASIC suppliers were forced to develop all of the technology themselves: However, during the s, the emergence of the fabless semiconductor industry, including a full ecosystem of suppliers, enabled all of the required elements to design and manufacture a chip to be sourced from third parties: Rather than developing everything in-house, the fabless ASIC model utilizes an outsourced approach, which has inherent advantages over the traditional ASIC model.
They also have access to the full range of capabilities available from the entire semiconductor supply chain versus relying on the limited range of capabilities they have developed themselves, providing the flexibility required to truly support the needs of their customers. For fabless semiconductor companies, a fabless ASIC supplier enables them to: The first element consists of the charges incurred during the design of a 48 Fabless ASICs device, the NRE, which include the costs to do the design, to procure the third-party IP, and to obtain the mask set, prototype wafers and test hardware.
A fabless ASIC company typically does not seek to make a profit on these activities, and in fact often discounts this expense to its customer — the fabless semiconductor company or system OEM — to secure the rights to build the device in production-volume quantities.
The second element is the revenue associated with the production of the device, which is where a fabless ASIC company makes its profit. The downloading power enabled by this supply chain aggregation enables significantly lower material costs than its customer would be able to obtain on its own.
For the typical fabless semiconductor company, which may only put one or two designs through to production a year, access to this type of capability can mean the difference between success and failure — especially if the only alternative is to hire, train, maintain and manage the required engineering resources internally. To successfully implement a chip design with the size, degree of functional complexity, mix of design technologies and manufacturing challenges afforded by leading-edge processes requires the integration of an unprecedented number of technological and managerial specialties.
Despite the technical advances offered by each supplier in the semiconductor supply chain, managing a large number of suppliers who ultimately contribute to the design and production of a complex device is an increasingly challenging task.
As a result, the fabless ASIC model has emerged as the best approach to dealing with the escalating costs and complexity of designing and manufacturing a state-of-the-art chip. The following sections will describe in more detail the services, capabilities and benefits of working with a fabless ASIC company.
Their complexity earns these device designs the description of systems-on-chips SOCs. The industry has traditionally divided the design cycle into two phases: The responsibility for the front-end design typically falls on the fabless semiconductor company or system OEM, as this phase of the SOC development requires a deep understanding of the end-application that the device is going to serve.
Conversely, back-end design is often left to an external supplier, such as a fabless ASIC supplier, for a number of reasons: Fabless ASIC suppliers are well suited to assist these companies with the physical design of their chips for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, this is their business and they do it day in and day out. They also have experts on staff to deal with the full range of technical considerations that may be encountered in a design. By amortizing their tools, staff and infrastructure across a large number of their customers, they are more efficient operationally than any individual company attempting to develop an SOC device on its own. As a result, their main motivation is to enable companies to get a working chip in the shortest time possible.
This is in stark contrast to a design services company, whose only interest is to get paid for the design effort. In fact, the longer it takes to complete the design, the more money the design services provider can make.
Another consideration is the increasingly close interaction between the design techniques used in implementing an SOC design and the manufacturability of the device.
Issues such as design rules and circuit performance have always been considered when doing the physical design of a chip, but in more advanced process nodes the considerations are much more subtle — cross-talk effects and antenna effects, for example.
Because of their expertise in this 50 Fabless ASICs area and the fact that they participate in the production of the device, fabless ASIC companies are well positioned to act as intelligent intermediaries between design and manufacturing. The use of these IP blocks has become so common it has lead to the creation of a new industry: Unfortunately, it is often the case that much of the increased productivity that is expected through the use of off-the-shelf, third-party IP is lost in the management of the IP supplier and the integration of the IP into the design.
Should a problem arise, the fabless ASIC supplier can again call on its internal technical expertise and supplier relationships to determine the cause of the problem and implement a solution. These range from simple lead-frame packages for low-speed, low-signal count devices, to complex multi-layer flip-chip packages for high-power, high-signal count and high-frequency devices.
In addition, the interrelationship between the die and the package is becoming increasingly complex as the limits of signal performance and power are pushed.
To address this situation, the fabless ASIC company can also provide package design services. This allows its customers to benefit from the synergy of having one supplier develop both the die and the package, and, as a result, take ownership for the interactions between the two elements. It is critical that the designer of an SOC device take test considerations into account during the design process to ensure adequate production quality and cost.
On the one hand, inadequate test coverage can be disastrous for a device shipping in high volume. On the other hand, over-testing or testing inefficiently can result in a product cost structure which is unacceptable. Fabless ASIC suppliers can assist companies in solving this through their expertise in design, design for testability DFT tools and methodologies and production test for high-complexity, high-volume devices.
Another service provided by a fabless ASIC company is the development of the production test program for the device. This effort involves defining a test plan for the product; selecting the target test platform based on the specific requirements of the device to be tested, such as the number of pins; speed at which test is to be performed and the analog content in the device. Again, because of its experience in servicing a broad range of customers, as well as its relationships with multiple test suppliers, a fabless ASIC supplier is a very capable partner in this effort.
Ultra deep sub-micron manufacturing cannot avoid process variations, not only from lot to lot, but also from wafer to wafer, die to die and even transistor to transistor on the die.
To address this, actual silicon needs to be characterized over the full range of process variations expected to be seen in volume production. The characterization corner lot splits are designed to stress the worst-case process extremes that could be observed in a production ramp. In this process, any sensitivities of the design to certain process corners can be identified and addressed before taking the design into volume production.
Methods of addressing such sensitivities include shifting some process parameters to avoid the particular point in the process that the design is sensitive to, changing the test program to relax a design parameter that is defined too stringently or in severe cases, modifying the design. Qualification testing ensures that the SOC device will not be damaged during the board-level manufacturing process, and that it will continue to perform as specified during the required lifetime of the product into which it is incorporated.
Tests done during qualification include electrostatic damage or discharge testing, where the device pins are subjected to high voltages to ensure they will not be damaged during manufacturing; latch-up testing, to test the susceptibility of a short between power and ground rails triggered by input or output current or supply over 52 Fabless ASICs voltages; and accelerated life testing, which by applying higher voltages and temperatures to a sample of devices, can predict the expected lifetime of the device in normal operation.
The level of qualification testing required is usually determined by the end-customers and applications that the device targets. Low-cost, short lifetime, consumer devices may be able to accept a fairly minimal qualification effort, but a large telecommunications system device, which requires high reliability in harsh environments for 10 years or more, will demand a much more thorough and extensive qualification process.
Since fabless ASIC suppliers serve a wide range of companies and markets, they are ideally suited to guide the designer of a complex SOC device through the qualification process to meet the demands of the end-customer. In addition to the qualification of the specific design, a fabless ASIC supplier can also support the quality infrastructure that fabless semiconductor companies and system OEMs require. This includes supplier qualification, review and monitoring; document control and process change notifications PCNs.
If done properly, characterization and qualification, as described, can significantly smooth the production ramp for a product.
However, despite this proactive effort prior to production ramp, ongoing support is still required during production. The benefits associated with using a fabless ASIC company during volume production include: Given the complexities and expenses associated with successfully and cost-effectively producing a leading-edge chip, there is a constant need to evaluate new approaches. In the increasingly complex world of custom chip development, more and more companies, be they a system OEM or a fabless semiconductor company, will look to a trusted partner to oversee the entire supply chain in both the design and manufacturing phases of their SOC development, enabling them to focus on their core value-add of developing unique approaches to system design.
That trusted partner is a fabless ASIC company. EDA helps to facilitate and automate the process of electronic design. Customers of EDA products and services include major integrated circuit IC system design companies that create products for the computer, networking and consumer markets.
This market can be logically extended to include any company involved in electronic design. EDA helps customers solve design challenges by providing leading-edge electronic solutions that streamline the process of moving advanced IC and system designs to volume production.
Customers use EDA software and hardware methodologies and services to design and verify advanced semiconductors, printed circuit boards PCBs and systems used in consumer electronics, telecommunications equipment, networking devices and computer systems. Figure 6. Company reports Figure 6. Determining factors can include whether the design is analog, digital, or mixedsignal; the complexity of the design; and whether they are designing the package, the board or the system.
Many people who work at fabless companies have had experiences with different EDA solutions in the past, which is another contributing factor in the selection process. Companies involved with less-complex designs will have more limited needs, whereas clients involved in complex, leading-edge technologies may require extensive engineering consultations with their supplier.
The challenges faced by companies working with EDA suppliers include time-to-market, managing design complexity and integration for value. This demand requires the design of products with multiple fabrics, including digital, analog, radio frequency, system-on-chips SOCs , system-in-packages SiPs and printed circuit boards PCBs , as well as the resolution of conflicting technical and business objectives that must be simultaneously addressed.
From a technical standpoint, issues such as low-power design and signal integrity must be addressed.
Understanding Fabless IC Technology
From a business perspective, design-for-manufacturability DFM issues such as yield and yield ramp which drives profitability , are paramount. EDA tools are created to address this diverse range of issues and solve the associated challenges for the customer.
EDA is the inception point of electronic design, and EDA tools offer improved design team productivity. These design teams need to verify their concepts, model and analyze their designs and identify and eliminate problems before going to production. EDA helps get it done right. Designers first need EDA tools to specify their design intent and then implement the design.
Verification tools are used during various stages of this process to ensure the design will perform as intended. The design may need to be implemented using both digital and analog or mixed-signal tools, and during implementation, verification tools will be run multiple times. After implementation, the development team must consider how the design will fit into the package, and how the package will fit into the board itself.
Once the design is finished, the IC 56 Electronic Design Automation is handed off to the manufacturer. As a part of this process, the team works to resolve design for manufacturing issues that may occur, and to ensure the design can be quickly ramped up to volume production. The fabless companies assess the type of design they are creating, including the complexity of the design and the targeted end market.
Based on this assessment, fabless companies select the appropriate tools and services from the EDA suppliers. Leading nanometer design teams working on complex designs rely on integrated solutions and close partnerships with their EDA tools supplier. Most EDA tools are interoperable, and fabless companies must weigh the trade-offs between using an integrated solution and mixing and matching tools from different suppliers. In cases that use design tools from multiple sources, additional resources and investments may be required to create an integrated design flow.
EDA has many well-defined and de facto standards, especially in the areas of timing models, databases, layout formats, and high-level modeling languages. EDA is the bridge between manufacturing and design. It provides the vehicle for communicating process information from the manufacturer to the designer in a manner that is compatible with the EDA tools, and enables the designer to evaluate the impact of design manufacturability issues in advance of going to silicon.
In addition, companies engaged in analog or other forms of custom design will need process design kits PDKs from their manufacturer or EDA suppliers.
The following presents an overview of the various factors that need to be considered during the EDA selection process.
Device models are created for transistors and can be used for analysis during the design phase. Similarly, interconnect models represent the wires that connect the devices, and can be used to measure the delay in signal transmissions or the coupling and noise characteristics between different signals.
Device models can be integrated with interconnect models, delivering a method for predicting the behavior of the circuit before hardening it in silicon. This synergistic approach shortens development cycles and enhances the productivity of the design teams. The silicon manufacturers provide these device and interconnect models as part of their services. New spatial effects have emerged in nanometer technologies that are having an impact on device models and interconnect.
This impact results from both proximity effects and material 57 Chapter 6 effects. When copper was adopted, proximity effects changed the behavior of the interconnect; manufacturing techniques are impacting how the thickness of the interconnect wires varies across the die and across the wafer.
On the device side, proximity effects have created the need for new kinds of device model requirements. These requirements are driving improvements in device model standards, and are causing manufacturers to build proprietary models with EDA tools that adhere to the new standards.
The behavior of interconnect and device models has changed, due to proximity and material effects. The material change has also impacted interconnect models because it changed the thickness of wires based on density.
This has also had an impact on conductivity and coupling capacitance. As process technologies evolved to nanometer geometries, proximity effects have begun to affect device models as well.
This also causes foundries to supply device models that conformed to new standards, some of which are proprietary. In response to these changing factors, EDA tools now need the flexibility to handle new behaviors uncovered in a rapidly-changing environment. They provide a higher level of abstraction than transistors, enabling designers to build larger designs more efficiently. Designers use cells, which are design elements from the libraries, to build their design.
EDA tools are used to assist in the selection of appropriate cells, and their placement into the design. In some cases silicon foundries also provide libraries. These reference flows come from a variety of sources, including EDA companies, silicon manufacturers and IP vendors.
Using a single design flow across the design team is preferable to using multiple flows. This approach enables the team to share design methodologies, and also be able to share other kinds of design IP across different projects. Productivity is improved because any improvement in the design flow can be shared within the team as a whole, allowing the development resources to be leveraged across multiple projects. Design IP is a building block that design teams use as a component of the design; EDA tools are used to integrate the design IP into the larger design.
Design teams can instantiate these IPs into their design and use the models of the IP to verify the design in context. There are distinct boundaries regarding IP between suppliers and customers in the design chain. The ultimate quality of the design depends on a range of factors, including the quality of the process, the design IP and the design tools. A need has emerged for high-quality, secure models that can be exchanged between an IP supplier and the foundry, the customer and the EDA partners.
This enables participants in the design and manufacturing process to exchange data on the behavior and characteristics of the particular IP, without revealing the details of the IP itself.
Behavior is contained within the model, but the specifics of the IP are hidden from the end-user. This approach enables the design quality to be assessed across the supply chain without requiring visibility into the IP of the other suppliers. EDA companies work closely with both entities to enable designers to harden designs into silicon at the IC foundries, design the package to be compatible with the silicon and provide a scalable, high-volume solution.
EDA companies work with IC foundries to assist in building models of the process technology, and also enable designers to use these models to predict the behavior of the circuit in silicon.
EDA can help the customer analyze various choices and select the appropriate packages. Once the models are available, EDA also helps the designer predict the behavior of the IC in the package without it being physically implemented at the foundry. The trend towards smaller geometries requires companies in the design chain to work together more closely, and creates a higher level of interdependence.
When designers were working in geometries of nanometer and above, the design flow was easier to manage. Foundries could build a model of the process, hand it over to the customer, give it to their EDA partner, and then let the EDA partner build or enhance the tools used in design. This approach enabled the EDA companies to respond to changes in the process technology by creating new tools or modifying existing ones.
The designer can then use EDA tools to build designs targeted to that particular process technology. This has heightened the interdependence of the process, including the tools and the design intent, and has created a new urgency for partners to work together on a real-time basis.
Across the design chain, including the foundries, the design IP providers, and the EDA companies, it is increasingly important to collaborate earlier in the development of a process technology. From the inception of the design process to final tapeout, this integrated approach shortens the design cycle and increases the probability that the design will work when hardened in silicon.
Interestingly, the need for an integrated approach and its requirement for stronger relationships between the various fabless model players was accurately highlighted by Dr. There is a growing need for the EDA companies to be tightly linked to the manufacturing process. Because of shrinking geometries and product cycles, the time between changes in the process and the time when a customer has to use it has decreased.
EDA companies need to understand the evolution in process behavior from one generation to the next, to be able to model that behavior, and be able to predict how an IC will behave in a certain process using that model. The first is low power, because at nanometer and below the leakage current in transistors becomes very significant. At the same time, the market is trending towards handheld wireless devices. Battery life has become a key factor and power design is critical.
The second challenge is yield, because manufacturing issues at the subnanometer level are significant.
When a tapeout is sent to the manufacturer, the data must be carefully manipulated 60 Electronic Design Automation Figure 6. The design can become distorted as part of this process, which can negatively impact yield. As the complexity and size of the designs continue to increase geometrically, verification challenges increase as well. If a design is not verified in a timely manner, or if the verification is incorrect, costly additional cycles will be required to fix the design. This increases the pressure to produce a viable design the first time, which dramatically increases the chances of receiving working silicon back from the manufacturer in the first pass.
To achieve timely and cost-effective development cycles, verification must take place across the entire design process, including the system, RTL, netlist, gate, GDSII, and mask levels. The increased challenges at advanced technology nodes underscore the need for manufacturers and EDA companies to work more closely to compensate for the impact of the design process on manufacturing.
Before the customers tapeout a design, they need to have a predictive model of how the circuit will behave in silicon. Through its DBYI offering, PDF unveils an exceptional solution to address the challenges faced by a growing number of fabless IC makers in achieving higher yielding volume production swiftly.
Te challenges of achieving the best match between design and process become even more pronounced for technology nodes of 0. By improving design-process compatibility, PDFsDBYI technology accelerates production schedules and maximizes product yield and performance, aid Kibarian.
PDF's software, methodologies and services enable semiconductor companies to create more manufacturable IC designs and more capable manufacturing processes. By simulating deep sub-micron product and process interactions, the PDF solution offers clients reduced time to market, increased IC yield and performance, and enhanced product reliability and profitability. For more information, visit www. Forward-Looking Statements Some of the statements in this press release are forward-looking, including the statements regarding the potential success and benefits of the Design-Based Yield Improvement technology; PDFsability to minimize time-to-market, production costs of IC products and necessary design iterations; PDFsability to enhance or increase product yield and performance.
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DPReview Digital Photography. East Dane Designer Men's Fashion.Few believed this model would survive — much less become the dominant model for the industry. Qualities of Successful Fabless Companies. Access online or offline, on mobile or desktop devices Bookmarks, highlights and notes sync across all your devices Smart study tools such as note sharing and subscription, review mode, and Microsoft OneNote integration Search and navigate content across your entire Bookshelf library Interactive notebook and read-aloud functionality Look up additional information online by highlighting a word or phrase.
ISBN pbk. Semiconductor companies owned and operated their own silicon-wafer fabrication facilities and developed their own process technology for manufacturing their chips.