Introduction to VLSI Design

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Post-layout Simulation

Please follow the example link (button) for a detailed description of "Post-Layout Simulation".

The electrical performance of a full-custom design can be best analyzed by performing a post-layout simulation on the extracted circuit net-list. At this point, the designer should have a complete mask layout of the intended circuit/system, and should have passed the DRC and LVS steps with no violations. The detailed (transistor-level) simulation performed using the extracted net-list will provide a clear assessment of the circuit speed, the influence of circuit parasitics (such as parasitic capacitances and resistances), and any glitches that may occur due to signal delay mismatches.

If the results of post-layout simulation are not satisfactory, the designer should modify some of the transistor dimensions and/or the circuit topology, in order to achieve the desired circuit performance under "realistic" conditions, i.e., taking into account all of the circuit parasitics. This may require multiple iterations on the design, until the post-layout simulation results satisfy the original design requirements.

Finally, note that a satisfactory result in post-layout simulation is still no guarantee for a completely successful product; the actual performance of the chip can only be verified by testing the fabricated prototype. Even though the parasitic extraction step is used to identify the realistic circuit conditions to a large degree from the actual mask layout, most of the extraction routines and the simulation models used in modern design tools have inevitable numerical limitations. This should always be one of the main design considerations, from the very beginning.

After all, there is no substitute for the "real silicon" !

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Last Updated by Ilhan Hatirnaz on 10/30/1998