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OK, so the title is perhaps a little optimistic but I'm
playing off the saying "keep your friends close, but your enemies closer" (The
Godfather Part II: Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puza). The corollary in
custom design is to bring the understanding of parasitic effects as early as
possible in the design flow, so there is less chance of surprises later.
In custom design there are a few ways to bring your
parasitic effects "closer." They are as follows:
1. The first is
perhaps the most painful. It's where parasitic Rs and Cs are manually added
directly on the schematic in the hope they are representative enough to cover
the layout. So a duplicate of the design is created to protect the original.
companies have created scripts that will add a default parasitic capacitance to
every net in the design to at least push the design closer to the final result.
This can be done during the netlisting phase to avoid editing the schematic.
3. Other companies
have gone a step further and added in a level of structure recognition, so the
guesstimated parasitic elements are closer to what a layout would likely
produce. The estimates are programmed in, based on prior experience.
designs are typically 80% reused, it makes sense to try and leverage the 80% of
parasitic information you have from the previous designs. There are a number of
ways designers will do this, and depends on how much information is wanted.
Again some scripts are often developed to help.
5. Lastly is the
prototype route, where the design is actually constructed very quickly to get
access to extracted results. This depends on a high level of automation in the
layout generation to make it worthwhile.
Below is a flow that I want to present that covers the last three points and is based on the Parasitic Aware Design (PAD) capabilities of Virtuoso
ADE GXL. The six steps are:
1. Create the
their effects and make adjustments to the design
the layout and extraction as before
4. Run the
5. Analyze the
pre/post layout impact on performance and recalibrate the estimates from the real extracted results
6. Reuse the
parasitic estimates in subsequent designs as the parasitic estimates are saved
as constraints and travel with the design.
The key challenge to any pre-layout parasitic analysis is
getting the estimates in the first place -- and the best estimates are going to
be those derived from real data. As I mentioned, some customers have developed
the ability to add parasitics based on some heuristics they developed over time
and scaled by the rules of the target process. With PAD, these can be included
into the flow using the SKILL interface. The advantage is you gain access to
all the other capabilities of PAD in ADE XL and GXL for analysis with these
The alternative is to create a prototype of the layout and
collect the extracted results directly. With the constraint-driven flow from
Virtuoso Schematic Editor XL to Virtuoso Layout Suite XL/GXL, a prototype can
be created quickly. Use QRC to extract and you can run verification, then
either stitch parasitic networks of interest directly to your pre-layout design
or recalibrate any estimated parasitic.
With PAD, you have the most
flexibility in incorporating the strategy that makes the most sense to you.
With reuse built in, it is now more possible than ever to reduce or even
eliminate the iterations back and forth between design and implementation.
What strategy do you use?