Solutions Overview

At the most basic level, semiconductor design is all about transistors. Any report on a large microprocessor or mobile application processor is in awe about how many transistors it contains. Moore’s Law is all about the most economic way to manufacture transistors. Each process generation for the last decade and looking ahead is built around new transistor types: strained silicon, Hi-K metal gate, FinFET, FD-SOI, silicon nanotubes, carbon nanotubes, spintronics. Outside of SoC memory architectures have always been about transistors, deep trench DRAM, vertical Flash. Power (high voltage) is moving to new materials such as SiC and GaN.

Systems are built out of interconnecting cells that contain a few transistors, and furthermore systems are increasingly being designed at higher and higher levels. But the foundation of any electronic device is the creation of transistors, the modeling of transistors and building the basic building blocks out of which systems can be constructed. Silvaco is the company that focuses on the transistor.

The transistor starts with the process. Technology CAD (TCAD) is the method of building up the transistor according to the process recipe and then analyzing the resulting transistor(s) to gradually converge on the desired characteristics. The TCAD models are too slow and unwieldy to be used directly for design, a model extraction phase is required whereby the results of many TCAD characterization runs are coalesced to create a SPICE model that can be used in simulation, variation analysis and PDKs to allow larger designs to be undertaken.

The next level up is a traditional analog (or custom digital) flow. This consists of a high capacity layout editor (some cells are small, but others such as memories or flat-panel-displays are huge), a full 3D field-based extractor to get all the precise parasitics, and then accurate SPICE circuit simulation that can take the models from TCAD (or silicon characterization) and produce the usual performance data.

One level up from there is the requirement for full power integrity analysis: current drop due to resistance (IR drop), electromigration (EM) and thermal effects (heating due to transistors working). For the most extreme environments, such as space or even avionics, single-event effects and threshold drift due to dose over time may also be required.

Transistor level design automation tools spanning TCAD, through SPICE and onto Signoff is an area of expertise that requires dedicated focus and attention. Silvaco is the leading provider of tools focused on the transistor level. The company’s people, knowledge base and customer base enable a unique and dedicated focus on transistor level from the very inception of a new process/device. Building the edifice of a large cathedral requires that the foundation, the transistor, is as perfect as possible.

These transistor technologies can be applied to provide solutions in a wide variety of vertical markets. The key markets where Silvaco’s suite of products is used are:

  • Displays: TFT, LCD and OLED
  • Power (high voltage/current) Devices: DMOS, IGBT, SiC and GaN
  • Optical Devices: CCD, CIS and Laser, Solar Cell
  • Reliability: Soft-error reliability (SEE), Radiation (Total Dose), Aging (NBTI, HCI)
  • Advanced CMOS Process Development: FinFET, FDSOI, 3D NAND Flash
  • Analog, High-speed I/O, Power IC Design: PLL, ADC, SERDES, Switching regulators
  • Foundation Library and Memory Design: Standard Cell, SRAM, DRAM, Flash

Library Memory Design Analog HSIO Advanced Process Optical Solutions Reliability Solutions Power Solutions Power Integrity Display Solutions Custom Design SPICE Simulation Variation-Aware DesignTcad Clever model extraction