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Efficient Interconnect Extraction
Once physical layout is complete, (or at least the serial link differential pairs of interest are routed), post-layout verification can take place. One decision to make is to decide what bandwidth to use for the extraction. To assess this, it is necessary to consider the signals that will be passed through the link. The PCI Express Gen 4 spec refers to rise times of approximately 22ps, measured 10% to 90%. A classic expression relating the rise time to signal bandwidth is:
BW (GHz) = 350 / Trise (ps)
For the case of PCI Express Gen 4, we are looking at signal bandwidth of at least 16 GHz to start with, and likely higher as we factor in equalization. Most engineers would insist on a minimum bandwidth of several times the data rate, which puts us into the 30 to 50 GHz range. So for accuracy, we are clearly in the realm of full wave 3D electromagnetic field solvers, especially for complex, non-planar structures like coupled vias. So the initial inclination is to deploy full wave 3D extraction techniques for these types of serial links.
The problem is computational time. As discussed earlier, the point in the design process where you have detailed interconnect to extract is at the end. And the end of the design cycle is generally the most time-challenged of all, where you can least afford the long computational times. While 3D full wave methods are required for the complex via structures from an accuracy perspective, they are very slow for long, uniform transmission lines, like routed traces in PCBs. Fast, 2D methods still work quite well for those structures, so there is a basic conflict regarding extraction engines.
The most efficient techniques combine both methods, giving you “full wave where you need it”, while deploying faster, simpler methods to the long, uniform transmission line structures. This is generally referred to as a “cut and stitch” methodology, where the overall interconnect to be extracted is decomposed into different regions, depending on the specific interconnect structures found. Regions with 3D structures like vias are tagged for solution by full wave engines, whereas the regions with the long-uniform transmission lines are solved with 2D techniques.
Figure 8 – Breaking interconnect into multiple regions for cut & stitch
The end results are combined together into one final S-parameter, as if the entire network was extracted with a full wave engine. The advantage of this technique is that it provides full wave accuracy, while providing solution times an order of magnitude (or more) faster than extracting the whole network with only a 3D full wave solver.
At this point, the detailed interconnect model(s) can be plugged back into your simulation testbench for post-layout verification, replacing the PCB trace and via models that were developed in the pre-layout stage.
Next time > Simulating with IBIS-AMI Models
Ken Willis is a Product Engineering Architect focusing on SI solutions at Cadence Design Systems. He has nearly 30 years of experience in the modeling, analysis, design, and fabrication of high-speed digital circuits. Prior to Cadence, Ken held engineering, technical marketing, and management positions with the Tyco Printed Circuit Group, Compaq Computers, Sirocco Systems, Sycamore Networks, and Sigrity.
More about Signal Integrity:
How to Address the Challenges of Serial Link Design and Analysis
Why SerDes Signaling Is Trending Towards PAM Encoded Signals
How to Build an IBIS-AMI Model (Video)