New 65-Nanometer Mixed-Signal and RF Tool Qualification Program Increases Electromagnetic Simulation Accuracy for High Frequency, High Speed Designs

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, has unveiled a comprehensive Electromagnetic (EM) Tool Qualification Program that drives its Design Service Ecosystem partners to ensure greater accuracy of EM simulators and extractors used in applications such as high-speed digital clock circuits and high-frequency mixed-signal RF designs.

Targeting TSMC's 90 and 65 nanometer (nm) process technologies, the program improves device model accuracy, supports a wider selection of qualified EM tools, significantly reduces customer EM tool evaluation efforts, lowers the risk and eases adoption of TSMC advanced process technologies.

Typically, high frequency circuit designers select a set of devices, such as inductors, to be included in their design, and evaluate different EM simulators from different tool vendors, trying to match EM simulator data to silicon measurements provided by foundry. Most of the time, the results are different due to the variability of the process data, and the wide variety of different test devices. Through the EM Tool Qualification Program, TSMC provides EM tool vendors a standardized set of devices and silicon measurements, and a unified technology file for extraction and modeling, thus eliminating the data inconsistency, reducing tool evaluation time and improving design accuracy. This is especially significant in nanometer RF designs where obtaining accurate device models at high frequency has created the bottleneck for first pass design success.

As part of the EM Tool Qualification Program, TSMC developed, and silicon-verified, a set of commonly used spiral inductors and provides the devices and the process data to EM tool vendors to verify the tool accuracy and ability to match silicon data. Once qualified, a tool qualification report is generated and posted on TSMC-Online, TSMC's customer portal for designers to download and review. Multiple EDA partners participate and are being qualified in the program including Agilent, Ansoft, Cadence, Helic, Integrand, Lorentz, OEA, Silvaco, and Zeland.

"Continuing to deliver on our commitment to provide more accuracy, TSMC is the first foundry to proactively work with multiple EDA vendors to create and qualify interoperability between the high frequency EM simulation technologies and the foundry's advanced processes," said Tom Quan, deputy director, Design Service Marketing at TSMC. "The program is part of our Active Accuracy Assurance (AAA) initiative previously launched, and provides designers the ability to select qualified EM tools to match their design needs, improve compliance with TSMC processes, and ensure design accuracy for first time silicon success.  The program today focuses on individual point tools, but will expand to include EM tool interoperability within the full mixed-signal and RF design flow."

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