Standard Cell Characterization

Topics: Standard cell, Mathematics, Parameter Pages: 6 (1198 words) Published: June 6, 2006
Introduction: -

In the present scenario, it is very hard to design a circuit using full custom methodology because of the increase in the complexity due to decrease in the feature size. So, most of companies are following the semi-custom approach to reduce the cost & time to market which are the most important parameters for any successful products.

To follow the approach of semi-custom, designer need a characterized library of standard cells e.g. logic gates, data buses, sequential building blocks like F/F's etc. That's why, many companies & fabrication plants provide std. cell library with the data sheets containing information about timing, area & power parameters.

Overview: -

In this report, I will discuss the requirement of std. cells & basic flow for their characterization. The topics of discussion are given below:

• Reasons for Characterization
• Characterization Flow
• Characterization Parameters
• Models
• Measurement & Verification
• Library Formats
• Summary
• Sources

Basics: -

The use of the standard cells can be summarized as given below:

Logic units of similar geometry (same height)

Implement basic logic (NAND, NOR, INV, FF, LATCH, complex gates)

Usually come in libraries for a specific technology

From the above points, we can conclude that std. cells provide repeatability during layout design which decreases the complexity & make layout formation easy. Also, std. cells are technology dependent so just by selecting library of one technology; we can build any design depending on available cells as shown below.

Reasons for Characterization: -

The reasons for the characterization are given below: -

Extraction of functionality is complicated
Functional/Delay simulation takes way too long
Power extraction for a whole chip takes too long
Automatic detection of timing constraints (e.g. Setup time) is difficult.

Solution: To solve this problem, a simple model for delay, function, constraints and power on cell/gate level is used which provides different characteristics of the cell & thus called cell characterization.

Characterization Flow: -

The characterization flow for std. cell is a major issue. Many aspects of the characterization demand special attention. The major steps are given below: -

Net list Extraction: In this, the layout for the cell to be characterized is made using any good layout editor for a specific technology & then verified for the technology rules violations & interconnections. After verifying the design, the parasitic extraction is done in which resistance; capacitance & other physical parasitic are being extracted from the design.

Specification of parameters: After the extraction, some default, process & design dependent parameters are defined. For example, doping density, voltage, temperature. Fan out etc.

Model selection and specification: - After specifying the parameter values, different models are selected depending on their accuracy, complexity & requirement. A Model estimates the timing, area, power & noise parameters of the std. cell. In real sense, Models are mathematical equations used to calculate the o/p parameters.

Measurement: - The o/p provided by the simulator is then measured to extract the required characterization parameters. The o/p may be in different forms e.g. graphical view, bar chart and shmoo plot etc. From these characteristics, different parameters like area, power and timing are calculated for the std. cell. Model Generation: - Using these parameters, a characterized o/p model for the std. cell is prepared in a format to which a design tool can understand. All the measured parameters are attached to std. cell.

Verification: - After the characterization of the std. cell, it is verified for different parameters...
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