X-FAB Silicon Foundries SE has announced the launch of SubstrateXtractor, driving innovation in analog/mixed-signal IC fabrication.
Unwanted substrate couplings can impact modern IC developments, causing parasitic effects that are damaging to overall performance. Engineers have to deal with this by taking a slow and laborious trial-and-error approach, which calls for the allocation of many hours of experienced engineers’ time while numerous different design iterations are made and then experimented with.
The objective of SubstrateXtractor is to change this. Created in partnership with Swiss EDA software vendor PN Solutions, and based on its PNAware product, the solution is the semiconductor industry’s first commercially available tool to address the simulation of large signal substrate parasitic effects, according to X-FAB. Working in conjunction with the company’s established simulation libraries, SubstrateXtractor allows engineers to investigate where potential substrate coupling issues could occur and make the changes necessary to eliminate them (via better floorplanning, guard rings, and so forth) before the initial tape-out has even begun.
Through the SubstrateXtractor, engineers will gain full visibility of all the active and passive elements within the substrate and be able to experiment with different simulations in order to find a design concept that delivers maximum substrate coupling immunity within the project’s particular parametric constraints, claims X-FAB. Engineers will also be able to determine the minimum number of substrate contacts and guard rings needed for a project, no matter how complex and sophisticated it is — which will result in more effective utilization of the available area.
“By employing the SubstrateXtractor tool, layout engineers will be able to uncover any adverse substrate effects early on in the development cycle and subsequently mitigate them,” explains Joerg Doblaski, director of design support at X-FAB. “This will make IC implementation procedures far more streamlined and quicker to complete, avoiding the need to rework designs to increase levels of optimization, and resulting in significant cost savings.”
SubstrateXtractor is set to reduce the number of design iterations required — leading to much lower engineering overheads. This results in a faster time-to-market making a first-time-right analog design possible. Henceforth, this functionality will be integrated into X-FAB’s process design kit (PDK) and will be available for use with the company’s popular XH018 high voltage 0.18-µm mixed-signal CMOS offering. A version for the power management process XP018 will soon follow. A detailed webinar on this new tool will be hosted on May 22 and 23.