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Posts Tagged ‘ProPlus Design Solutions’

Solid State Watch: September 12-18, 2014

Monday, September 22nd, 2014
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The Week in Review: September 19, 2014

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Extreme-ultraviolet lithography systems will be available to pattern critical layers of semiconductors at the 10-nanometer process node, and EUV will completely take over from 193nm immersion lithography equipment at 7nm, according to Martin van den Brink, president and chief technology officer of ASML Holding.

North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted $1.35 billion in orders worldwide in August 2014 (three-month average basis) and a book-to-bill ratio of 1.04, according to the August EMDS Book-to-Bill Report published today by SEMI.   A book-to-bill of 1.04 means that $104 worth of orders were received for every $100 of product billed for the month.

Rudolph Technologies has introduced its new SONUS Technology for measuring thick films and film stacks used in copper pillar bumps and for detecting defects, such as voids, in through silicon vias (TSVs).

Samsung Electronics announced this week that it has begun mass producing its six gigabit (Gb) low-power double data rate 3 (LPDDR3) mobile DRAM, based on advanced 20 nanometer (nm) process technology. The new mobile memory chip will enable longer battery run-time and faster application loading on large screen mobile devices with higher resolution.

ProPlus Design Solutions, Inc. announced this week it expanded its sales operations to Europe.

Mentor Graphics this week announced the appointment of Glenn Perry to the role of vice president of the company’s Embedded Systems Division. The Mentor Graphics Embedded Systems Division enables embedded development for a variety of applications including automotive, industrial, smart energy, medical devices, and consumer electronics.

The Week in Review: September 5, 2014

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Contour Semiconductor, Inc. announced it has been awarded three new patents to back its Diode Transistor Memory (DTM) technology, the world’s lowest production-cost, non-volatile memory technology.

Fujitsu Semiconductor America announced that Shinichi “James” Machida, who led the company from late 2008 until spring of 2011, has been named as the new president and CEO of FSA.

ProPlus Design Solutions announced Samsung Electronics has extended its partnership with ProPlus through the deployment of ProPlus’ BSIMProPlus modeling platform for its 14nm FinFET SPICE modeling.

Analog Devices, Inc. introduced the first and only MEMS gyroscope specified to withstand temperatures of up to 175 degrees Celsius commonly encountered by oil and gas drilling equipment.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES, a provider of advanced semiconductor manufacturing technology, announced that Louis “Lou” Lupin has joined the company as senior vice president and chief legal officer.

Credo Semiconductor announced the appointment of Jeff Twombly as vice president of sales and business development.

Taiwanese chipmakers, LED manufacturers, and Outsourced Semiconductor Assembly and Test (OSAT) firms will spend firm nearly $24 billion in the next two years on equipment and materials, powering excitement for SEMICON Taiwan 2014, which opened this week in Taipei.

United Microelectronics Corporation and Fujitsu Semiconductor Limited announced an agreement for UMC to become a minority shareholder of a newly formed subsidiary of Fujitsu Semiconductor that will include its 300mm wafer manufacturing facility located in Kuwana, Mie, Japan.

Rudolph Technologies, Inc. announced that the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), Albany, NY, has selected its Discover Enterprise Yield Management Software (YMS) to provide an integrated data warehouse and analytics system for the Global 450 Consortium (G450C) equipment development program.

Eliminating the Challenges of Giga-Scale Circuit Design With Nano-Scale Technologies

Monday, November 25th, 2013

By Dr. Lianfeng Yang, Vice President of Marketing, ProPlus Design Solutions, Inc., San Jose, Calif.

These days, circuit designers are talking about the increasing giga-scale circuit size. Semiconductor CMOS technology downscaled to nano-scale, forcing the move to make designing for yield (DFY) mandatory and compelling them to re-evaluate how they design and verify their chips.

That’s what brought more than 150 engineers from foundries and fabless semiconductor companies in and around Shanghai, China, in early November to hear a visionary talk from Dr. Chenming Hu, TSMC distinguished professor of the Graduate School at the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Hu, giving the keynote during a ProPlus seminar, offered a perspective on the emerging technology known as 3D FinFET transistor that he and his team invented. It was a great day for all attendees as many of them were able to ask in-depth questions about the challenges at advanced nodes such as 28nm and 16nm.

Dr. Chenming Hu, TSMC distinguished professor of the Graduate School at the University of California, Berkeley talks at the ProPlus seminar.

Professor Hu, this year’s recipient of the Phil Kaufman Award from the IEEE Council for EDA and the EDA Consortium, is a long-time friend and advisor of ProPlus’. Several members of our team, including Zhihong Liu, ProPlus’ executive chairman, were part of a research group he led with Professor Ping K. Ko that invented the first industry-standard MOSFET SPICE model known as BSIM3. (I’ll save the details on this for ProPlus’ next blog.)

One day after the seminar in Shanghai, we were in Taiwan for a similar seminar, though Professor Hu did not join us. This group of engineers gave us a similar assessment of their challenges and ongoing concerns.

The general consensus from both groups is that they would benefit from having more closely integrated modeling, SPICE simulation and DFY technologies. Their perspective is one that is generally shared throughout the semiconductor industry and the EDA industry is starting to respond.

Many of the attendees we talked with over the two days commented on the challenges of good design. That is, modeling small transistors, then putting multi-billion nano-scale transistors together and making it functional, a challenge for the foundries as well because they have to manufacture these small transistors. That’s a function of having good yield.

Process variations create difficulties when accurately modeling nano-scale transistors because they create multi-dimensional uncertainties on device characteristics. Moving to 16- and 14nm nodes, 3D FinFET structure adds in more modeling challenges due to its new structure and complicated parasitics. As such, circuit designers are requested to understand the coverage, usage and limitations of foundry SPICE models.

They’re also challenged with finding the means to put a huge number of elements together. EDA vendors have taken notice here as well because they face the challenge of simulating a large-sized circuit with high enough accuracy and affordable simulation time.

Traditional FastSPICE is showing its age and limitations. The technology trend and advanced circuit designs require highly accurate SPICE simulator that can handle giga-scale size circuit simulations. Parallelization technology is the key, but no commercial SPICE simulator with patched parallel solutions can meet the needs. The trend we see is having a giga-scale SPICE simulator, with parallelization built-in from the ground up delivering giga-scale capacity with no accuracy compromises and significant speedup over traditional SPICE. At 16- and 14nm, FinFET circuit design sizes increase dramatically due to its 3D structure and complex parasitics. Giga-scale SPICE meets such challenges. No small feat, as the circuit designers pointed out.

Using nano-scale elements to design giga-scale circuits presents its own challenges, mainly due to variability, a DFY issue. Having a large amount of extremely small elements –– nanometer-sized transistors –– tightly packed together is a variability nightmare because every tiny variation could cause the function, performance or yield to change on the whole product. Such challenge increases with the technology advancement.

Caption: The design and manufacturing challenges for foundries, fabless design houses and EDA vendors. (Figure sources: Intel Tri-Gate transistors and Intel i7 CPU).

Such variation can be accounted for in the design phase. It’s a matter of how to accurately model small variations, efficiently simulate the large-sized circuit with small variation on each small element, and with variation modeling and simulation capabilities, how to improve designs to achieve optimum performance and yield.

Yes, a huge challenge, but critical for advanced IC designs. Depending on the number of instances to be varied, simulating the impact of variations, essentially Monte Carlo simulation, would require a different number of samplings, ranging from thousands (3σ) to billions (>6σ).

Consequently, the keys here are accurate modeling, giga-scale simulation and advanced high sigma sampling technologies that can reduce the number of sampling by orders of magnitude with the same level of accuracy. FinFET creates additional challenges as it requires very high sigma simulations (e.g., 7σ) for SRAM designs.

The answer as we heard from the circuit designers in China and Taiwan and others is that the only way out of these challenges is to more tightly integrate tools for nano-scale modeling, giga-scale SPICE simulation and DFY.

Dr. Lianfeng Yang currently serves as the Vice President of Marketing at ProPlus Design Solutions, Inc. Prior to co-founding ProPlus, he was a senior product engineer at Cadence Design Systems leading the product engineering and technical support effort for the modeling product line in Asia. Dr. Yang has over 40 publications and holds a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Glasgow in the U.K.

Design for Yield Trends

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

By Sara Ver-Bruggen

Should foundries establish and share best practices to manage sub-nanometer effects to improve yield and also manufacturability?

Team effort

Design for yield (DFY) has been referred to previously on this site as the gap between what the designers assume they need in order to guarantee a reliable design and what the manufacturer or foundry thinks they need from the designer to be able to manufacture the product in a reliable fashion. Achieving and managing this two-way flow of information becomes more challenging as devices in high volume manufacturing have 28 nm dimensions and the focus is on even smaller dimension next-generation technologies. So is the onus on the foundries to implement DFY and establish and share best practices and techniques to manage sub-nanometer effects to improve yield and also manufacturability?

Read more: Experts At The Table: Design For Yield Moves Closer to the Foundry/Manufacturing Side

‘Certainly it is in the vital interest of foundries to do what it takes to enable their customers to be successful,’ says Mentor Graphics’ Senior Marketing Director, Calibre Design Solutions, Michael Buehler, adding, ‘Since success requires addressing co-optimization issues during the design phase, they must reach out to all the ecosystem players that enable their customers.’

Mentor refers to the trend of DFY moving closer to the manufacturing/foundry side as ‘design-manufacturing co-optimization’, which entails improving the design both to achieve higher yield and to increase the performance of the devices that can be achieved for a given process.

But foundries can’t do it alone. ‘The electronic design automation (EDA) providers, especially ones that enable the critical customer-to-foundry interface, have a vital part in transferring knowledge and automating the co-optimization process,’ says Buehler. IP suppliers must also have a greater appreciation for and involvement in co-optimization issues so their IP will implement the needed design enhancements required to achieve successful manufacturing in the context of a full chip design.

As they own the framework of DFY solutions, foundries that will work effectively with both the fabless and the equipment vendors will benefit from getting more tailored DFY solutions that can lead to shorter time-to-yield, says Amiad Conley, Applied Materials’ Technical Marketing Manager, Process Diagnostics and Control. But according to Ya-Chieh Lai, Engineering Director, Silicon and Signoff Verification, at Cadence, the onus and responsibility is on the entire ecosystem to establish and share best practices and techniques. ‘We will only achieve advanced nodes through a partnership between foundries, EDA, and the design community,’ says Ya-Chieh.

But whereas foundries are still taking the lead when it comes to design for manufacturability (DFM), for DFY the designer is intimately involved so he is able to account for optimal trade-off in yield versus PPA that result in choices for specific design parameters, including transistor widths and lengths.

For DFM, foundries are driving design database adjustments required to make a particular design manufacturable with good yield. ‘DFM modifications to a design database often happen at the end of a designer’s task. DFM takes the “ideal” design database and manipulates it to account for the manufacturing process,’ explains Dr Bruce McGaughy, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Engineering at ProPlus Design Solutions.

The design database that a designer delivers must have DFY considerations to be able to yield. ‘The practices and techniques used by different design teams based on heuristics related to their specific application are therefore less centralized. Foundries recommend DFY reference flows but these are only guidelines. DFY practices and techniques are often deeply ingrained within a design team and can be considered a core competence and, with time, a key requirement,’ says McGaughy.

In the spirit of collaboration

Ultimately, as the industry continues to progress requiring manufacturing solutions that increasingly tailored and more and more device specific, this requires earlier and deeper collaboration between equipment vendors and foundry customers in defining and developing the tailored solutions that will maximize the performance of equipment in the fab. ‘It will also potentially require more three-way collaboration between the designers from fabless companies, foundries, and equipment vendors with the appropriate IP protection,’ says Conley.

A collaborative and open approach between the designer and the foundry is critical and beneficial for many reasons. ‘Designers are under tight pressures schedule-wise and any new steps in the design flow will be under intense scrutiny. The advantages of any additional steps must be very clear in terms of the improvement in yield and manufacturability and these additional steps must be in a form that designers can act on,’ says Ya-Chieh. The recent trend towards putting DFM/DFY directly into the design flow is a good example of this. ‘Instead of purely a sign-off step, DFM/DFY is accounted for in the router during place and route. The router is able to find and fix hotspots during design and, critically, to account for DFM/DFY issues during timing closure,’ he says. Similarly, Ya-Chieh refers to DFM/DFY flows that are now in place for custom design and library analysis. ‘Cases of poor transistor matching due to DFM/DFY issues can be flagged along with corresponding fixing guidelines. In terms of library analysis, standard cells that exhibit too much variability can be systematically identified and the cost associated with using such a cell can be explicitly accounted for (or that cell removed entirely).’

‘The ability to do “design-manufacturing co-optimization” is dependent on the quality of information available and an effective feedback loop that involves all the stakeholders in the entire supply chain: design customers, IP suppliers, foundries, EDA suppliers, test vendors, and so on,’ says Buehler. ‘This starts with test chips built during process development, but it must continue through risk manufacturing, early adopter experiences and volume production ramping. This means sharing design data, process data, test failure diagnosis data and field failure data,’ he adds.

A pioneer of this type of collaboration was the Common Platform Consortium initiated by IBM. Over time, foundries have assumed more of the load for enabling and coordinating the ecosystem. ‘GLOBALFOUNDRIES has identified collaboration as a key factor in its overall success since its inception and been particularly open about sharing foundry process data,’ says Buehler.

TSMC has also been a leader in establishing a well-defined program among ecosystem players, starting with the design tool reference flows it established over a decade ago. Through its Open Innovation Platform program TSMC is helping to drive compatibility among design tools and provides interfaces from its core analysis engines and third party EDA providers.

In terms of standards Si2 organizes industry stakeholders to drive adoption of collaborative technology for silicon design integration and improved IC design capability. Buehler adds: ‘Si2 working groups define and ratify standards related to design rule definitions, DFM specifications, design database facilities and process design kits.’

Open and trusting collaboration helps understand the thriving ecosystem programs that top-tier foundries have put together. McGaughy says: ‘Foundry customers, EDA and IP partners closely align during early process development and integration of tools into workable flows. One clear example is the rollout of a new process technology. From early in the process lifecycle, foundries release 0.x versions of their PDK. Customers and partners expend significant amounts of time, effort and resources to ensure the design ecosystem is ready when the process is, so that design tapeouts can start as soon as possible.’

DFY is even more critically involved in this ramp-up phase, as only when there is confidence in hitting yield targets will a process volume ramp follow. ‘As DFY directly ties into the foundation SPICE models, every new update in PDK means a new characterization or validation step. Only a close and sustained relationship can make the development and release of DFY methodologies a success,’ he states.


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