editor's blog
Subscribe Now

Simulating the Whole Process

Back when discussion CMOS-compatible MEMS, I briefly mentioned a couple tools from Coventor that are used in MEMS design. But one of them actually has use for any semiconductor process. You might think it’s another TCAD tool, but actually, it isn’t.

TCAD tools work with low-level physics to model small portions of an overall process. It’s like using SPICE to simulate a cell – very detailed, but can’t be used on an entire circuit. Likewise, you typically wouldn’t run a TCAD tool across an entire process from start to finish.

That’s what Coventor’s SEMulator3D does. It’s abstracted up one layer, and can be used to animate – literally – the entire process of building a transistor or other device. They do this using “voxels” – the 3D equivalent of a pixel. The sides of a voxel are sized so that there are 2-4 of them within the minimum feature size. The properties of each voxel include materials information, and there can be mixes and gradients so that there’s no pretense of a particular volume consisting of only one material.

Throughout the steps of the process, voxels are added (e.g., deposition), modified (e.g., implant), or deleted (e.g., etch). Some chemical interactions can be modeled (for example, if you ended up etching something you hadn’t intended); some can’t (for example, if copper is on bare silicon, resulting in electromigration). All of the effects are correlated with actual silicon.

The process description input to the tool is separate from the layout of a given circuit, so you can develop a “regression suite” of layouts. When you want to consider a process change, you can then apply it across the suite to see if it causes any problems in any of them. It can support layouts containing even thousands of transistors.

Their recent news is that they’ve now released a 64-bit version. This allows bigger areas to be simulated, or the use of smaller voxels – important as dimensions continue to shrink.

You can find more in their release

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Apr 13, 2021
We explain the NHTSA's latest automotive cybersecurity best practices, including guidelines to protect automotive ECUs and connected vehicle technologies. The post NHTSA Shares Best Practices for Improving Autmotive Cybersecurity appeared first on From Silicon To Software....
Apr 13, 2021
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video tells you the entire story. Cadence's subsystem SoC silicon for PCI Express (PCIe) 5.0 demo video shows you how we put together the latest... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community site. ]]...
Apr 12, 2021
The Semiconductor Ecosystem- It is the definition of '€œHigh Tech'€, but it isn'€™t just about… The post Calibre and the Semiconductor Ecosystem appeared first on Design with Calibre....
Apr 8, 2021
We all know the widespread havoc that Covid-19 wreaked in 2020. While the electronics industry in general, and connectors in particular, took an initial hit, the industry rebounded in the second half of 2020 and is rolling into 2021. Travel came to an almost stand-still in 20...

featured video

Meeting Cloud Data Bandwidth Requirements with HPC IP

Sponsored by Synopsys

As people continue to work remotely, demands on cloud data centers have never been higher. Chip designers for high-performance computing (HPC) SoCs are looking to new and innovative IP to meet their bandwidth, capacity, and security needs.

Click here for more information

featured paper

From Chips to Ships, Solve Them All With HFSS

Sponsored by Ansys

There are virtually no limits to the design challenges that can be solved with Ansys HFSS and the new HFSS Mesh Fusion technology! Check out this blog to know what the latest innovation in HFSS 2021 can do for you.

Click here to read the blog post

Featured Chalk Talk

Magnetics for High Voltage

Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and Bourns

With today’s trend toward ever-increasing voltages in energy systems, choosing the right transformer for the job has become an engineering challenge. High voltages demand careful attention to insulation, clearance, and creepage. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Cathal Sheehan of Bourns about choosing magnetics for high-voltage applications.

More information about Bourns Magnetics for High Voltage Applications