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Team up to win the yield game in the nm era

Posted: 03 Mar 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:parametric test? IC design? nanometer design rules? power management? lithography variation analysis?

Can you remember the first game you ever played? It probably had very few rules, very few actions and a straightforward path to success. As you grew older, your games became more complicated. Rules became more complex and possible actions increased. Determining the best move required you to evaluate multiple options and anticipate the actions of other players.

IC design has followed a similar path. Early on, design rules were absolute and finite. The path to yield was fairly simple: comply with all design rules and yield would follow. Designers didn't need to worry too much about what happened in the fab after tape-out.

In the nanometer era, the game has changed. Yield success is much harder to achieve because of the increased number and complexity of variables affecting manufacturability. The definition of yield itself has changed, now incorporating measures of variable power management, multimodal performance and circuit integrity. The designer's strategy must shift from simple design rule compliance to the definition and design of the optimal layout for the highest yield.

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