Checklist helps designers extract Spice facts from foundries
By Jeff Berman, News Editor - August 1, 2005
FSA, a trade organization representing the interests of fabless semiconductor vendors, today released a checklist that aims to help mixed-signal and RF designers obtain solid, consistent information about foundry Spice models so that they can make informed process and design decisions.
The organization says that the Mixed-Signal/RF Spice model checklist (available via the FSA's Web site) helps expedite the MS/RF Spice model extraction and distribution process by helping designers better understand source data, measured devices, and the completeness and quality of a model before implementation.
"This is sort of like a 'nutritious facts' label of what is inside a Spice model and how it reflects the actual performance of silicon," said Ken Brock, chairman of the FSA's MS/RF Model Working Group and vice president of marketing at Silvaco. "We think this checklist will be beneficial for users because each foundry has different methods to measure components used in semiconductors, and this provides a uniform model for giving information to users."
The FSA's MS/RF Foundry Subcommittee developed the checklist as an add-on to the FSA PDK (process design kit) checklist, which came out in March 2004. Subcommittee members including Agere Systems, Cadence, IBM, LSI Logic, and Jazz Semiconductor participated in the checklist's development, which took more than a year.
The checklist includes:
A three-page process overview, foundry source document references, and a listing of supported circuit simulators,
A users guide providing guidance on model classification, general extraction information, model variation procedures, statistical variation, and a summary of how simulated and measured results plots compare to one another, and
A taxonomy defining various terms that can differ from foundry to foundry
The FSA expects foundries to implement the checklist into their internal workflows, a process that should take approximately six months, Brock said. Each foundry has pledged to have the checklist procedure incorporated into its Spice-model workflow by the end of this year, he added.
The FSA will be hosting a technical session on the checklist at its Distinguished Speaker Series and Expert Roundtable inSanta Claralater this month.