Never miss a story from Analog/Custom Design. Subscribe for in-depth analysis and articles.
Our new AI-powered custom design solution, Virtuoso Studio, leverages our 30 years of industry knowledge and leadership providing innovative features, reimagined infrastructure for unrivaled productivity, and new levels of integration that stretch beyond classic design boundaries. In this blog series, learn how the best analog design tools just got better to help you keep pace with your challenging design issues.
By Sravasti Nair, Product Engineering Group Director, Cadence
The world of semiconductors is advancing rapidly, as is the demand for analog/ mixed-signal designs. However, such designs have high turnaround times; the gating factor is creating layouts that are correct for both design rule and design intent. Analog layout creation is a predominantly manual process because of the difficulty in automating user intent to meet design constraints. In particular, grouping and matching are critical requirements that are time-consuming and hard to implement. Lastly, the continuous push to lower process nodes forces users to account for many complex requirements from both manufacturability and reliability standpoints. The Custom Auto Place and Route (APR) solution in Virtuoso Studio takes a holistic view of this problem, addressing these bottlenecks to provide an automated solution.
Advanced nodes impose several restrictions on the conventional way of designing analog circuits in addition to complex contextual design rules. While analog circuits typically need a wide range of device sizes for precision and performance, layouts now need to be more uniform for density and manufacturing reasons. Grouping /arraying of devices is also becoming more complex due to increased functional density and more uniform devices, as is meeting user expectations for placement and routing with such grouped arrays.
Therefore, new tools/methodologies are needed to automate analog layout creation on these nodes by abstracting the process complexities and layout-dependent effects, ensuring uniformity, preserving design intent, and allowing users to create such layouts easily and repeatedly without a steep learning curve.
Virtuoso Studio turns the challenges of advanced process nodes into an opportunity by recognizing that structured layout methodology based on a gridded infrastructure is key to handling the complexity of these nodes, which in turn helps bridge the gap between custom and digital solutions from an automation standpoint. Through a system that supports multiple width and spacing grids based on device footprints and process rules, it abstracts complex DRCs for the automated placement, fill, and routing engines while adhering to topological constraints and design and electrical intent.
The Device APR solution in Virtuoso Studio is complemented by the new Stdcell APR solution that integrates the digital engines seamlessly in Virtuoso Studio. An automated analog solution is not very different from digital for these nodes, and Virtuoso Studio makes it appear seamless to users.
Virtuoso Studio device APR offers the most comprehensive solution in this space through functionality, covering every aspect of the layout design process and enhancing and automating it. This includes:
The automated device-level place and route solution in Virtuoso Studio is a turning point for Analog layout design. The solution ranges from exploration through a guided step-by-step flow for a crafted layout to full-blown automation. The user interface is uniquely designed to create the best possible experience for both layout and circuit designers due to its ease of use, while the automation engines cater to a large number of devices in advanced process nodes. With capabilities such as intelligent device grouping, accurate device pattern controls, auto-placement driven by grouping and matching, auto-fill and guarding, auto-generation of supply grid, and auto-routing with controls to meet electrical requirements, Virtuoso Studio device APR offers the most comprehensive automation solution for analog layout design. The future of analog layout automation is here, and Virtuoso Studio is the pathway to it.
Check out our integrated place-and-route solution web page for more details.
Learn more about Virtuoso Studio.