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For optimal site performance we recommend you update your browser to the latest version. Welcome to the March issue of Analog Dialogue. In my Note from the Editor in January, I invited you to meet some of our technical article authors at upcoming trade shows. For five decades, we’ve been honored to be your engineering resource for innovative design. Take a look back with our first editor and discover some of our favorite articles.
IN THIS ISSUEMultifunction: a Dilemma or Reality? IN THIS ISSUEWireless Short-Range Devices: Designing a Global License-Free System for Frequencies ADC Input Noise: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. IN THIS ISSUEWhich ADC Architecture Is Right for Your Application? IN THIS ISSUEIntegrated Solutions for CCD Signal Processing1. IN THIS ISSUEEMC, CE Mark, IEC801: What’s it all about? IN THIS ISSUESingle-Chip Direct Digital Synthesis vs.
It has been suggested that Integrated circuit development be merged into this article. The metal layer is coloured blue, green and brown are N- and P-doped Si, the polysilicon is red and vias are crosses. IC design can be divided into the broad categories of digital and analog IC design. An average desktop computer chip, as of 2015, has over 1 billion transistors.
The rules for what can and cannot be manufactured are also extremely complex. Common IC processes of 2015 have more than 500 rules. Roughly saying, digital IC design can be divided into three parts. Electronic system-level design: This step creates the user functional specification.
The user may use a variety of languages and tools to create this description. The RTL describes the exact behavior of the digital circuits on the chip, as well as the interconnections to inputs and outputs. Physical design: This step takes the RTL, and a library of available logic gates, and creates a chip design. This involves figuring out which gates to use, defining places for them, and wiring them together. Note that the second step, RTL design, is responsible for the chip doing the right thing.
The initial chip design process begins with system-level design and microarchitecture planning. Within IC design companies, management and often analytics will draft a proposal for a design team to start the design of a new chip to fit into an industry segment. Upper-level designers will meet at this stage to decide how the chip will operate functionally. This step is where an IC’s functionality and design are decided. To reduce the number of functionality bugs, a separate hardware verification group will take the RTL and design testbenches and systems to check that the RTL actually is performing the same steps under many different conditions, classified as the domain of functional verification.
A tiny error here can make the whole chip useless, or worse. The famous Pentium FDIV bug caused the results of a division to be wrong by at most 61 parts per million, in cases that occurred very infrequently. No one even noticed it until the chip had been in production for months. RTL is only a behavioral model of the actual functionality of what the chip is supposed to operate under. It has no link to a physical aspect of how the chip would operate in real life at the materials, physics, and electrical engineering side. The main steps of physical design are listed below. In practice there is not a straightforward progression – considerable iteration is required to ensure all objectives are met simultaneously.
This is a difficult problem in its own right, called design closure. Logic synthesis: The RTL is mapped into a gate-level netlist in the target technology of the chip. Placement: The gates in the netlist are assigned to nonoverlapping locations on the die area. Iterative logical and placement transformations to close performance and power constraints. Routing: The wires that connect the gates in the netlist are added. Design for manufacturability: The design is modified, where possible, to make it as easy and efficient as possible to produce.