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ANSYS Tools Shine at FinFET Nodes!

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Pawan Fangaria

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Published on 09-30-2014 02:00 PM


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In the modern semiconductor ecosystem we are seeing rapid advancement in
technology breaking past once perceived limits; 28nm, 20nm, 16-14nm, 10nm and
we are foreseeing 7nm now. Double and multi-patterning are already being seen
along with complex FinFET structures in transistors to gain the ultimate advantages
in PPA from these technologies. In order to realize these technologies in actual
designs, its utmost important that EDA tools move in tandem with such
technologies manifesting their complex rules and constraints into the tools and
methodologies which can be used to develop designs confirming to these
technologies. As we move down the nodes, it becomes increasingly difficult for the
tools to adapt to these complex technologies, thus adding a lag between the
technology and tools.
I am extremely impressed with ANSYS collaborating with multiple foundries and
making their tools compliant with most advanced technologies to date. A few
months ago, I had blogged about Intels announcement on the availability of their
production proven reference flow for power, electromigration (EM) and reliability
signoff using ANSYS simulation solution (using RedHawk, Totem and PathFinder)
for Intels 14nm Tri-Gate process.
Read Intel & Ansys Enable 14nm Chip Production for more details.
Today, its yet another pleasure to write about TSMCs certification of ANSYS tools
solution at advanced nodes and ANSYSs valuable participation in TSMC OIP with a
detailed presentation by Norman Chang, VP & Sr. Product Strategist at ANSYS.
Before I talk about the presentation and how ANSYS tools handle the complexity of
advanced node technologies, let me talk about the certification and some of the key
points about ANSYS and TSMC partnership.
ANSYS was conferred with Partner of the Year award by TSMC. As a result of the
intense collaboration between ANSYS and TSMC, ANSYSs RedHawk and Totem are
certified for TSMC 16nm FinFET+ (N16FF+) technology for static and dynamic
voltage drop analysis, EM verification and thermal reliability. TSMC 16nm FinFET
technology provides much improved PPA over its previous generation. At present,

TSMC certified these tools with its V0.9 DRM and SPICE models, and V1.0
certification is on track before this year end. The collaboration is continuing further
to enable designs at TSMC 10nm (N10) process technology. With N10 specific tool
enhancements implemented, customer can use ANSYS tools to start their designs in
TSMC N10 technology. Read the press release for full story.
Coming back to the presentation which was focused on thermal reliability of designs
using FinFETs and 3D-IC designs, it provided great visibility on how minutely ANSYS
tools handle physical effects at these nodes and the robust process used in the flow
from chip to system and system to chip.

With increased gate density in 3D-IC and less open space for thermal distribution,
the thermal effect gets enlarged, and that is compounded with higher drive strength
devices such as FinFETs at 16nm. This mandates checks for advanced reliability and
thermal impact with consideration of chip-package co-design to be accurate at
16nm; these checks are in addition to other checks such as ESD, power/signal EM,
leakage, static and dynamic IR and others applicable at older nodes. The TSMC
N16FF+ certified RedHawk and Totem elegantly handle complex EM and ESD rules,
unique metal architecture and enhanced modeling of vertical resistance, double
patterning and dummy devices. The resistance is correlated including middle-end
and back-end layers.
The reliability signoff covers a large set of rules checking into Connectivity (Grid
Weakness and Static IR), Reliability (EM, ESD and Thermal) and Power Noise (DvD
Noise, Low Power and Impact on Timing). For each of these areas, multiple checks
are performed; for example, in case of connectivity, cases such as missing vias,
power/ground balance, resistance, IR drop, high power density etc. are performed.
As high temperature accelerates EM (which causes gradual displacement of metal
atoms due to high current density) limiting allowable current density, the on-chip
maximum temperature must be accurately estimated and controlled.

FinFET has typical structure for increased self-heating. Both, smaller gate length
and higher Fin height contribute to increase in temperature. Also, narrow fin
structure and lower thermal conductivity in the substrate causes trapping of heat.
Both, FEOL process for devices and BEOL process for wires and their thermal
coupling must be analyzed and accounted to accurately estimate the temperature.

ANSYS self-heat flow using RedHawk and Totem calculates self-heat as well as
thermal coupling for instances and wires including thermal profile by taking
primary input from design layout (LEF/DEF, GDS), techfile, library and device
models, DSPF and foundry input. The Power EM run provides CTM (Chip Thermal
Model) and average current information for power/ground wires and the Signal EM
run provides rms current information for signal wires which are used in the
computation of self-heating and thermal coupling.
Similarly chip thermal interaction on 3D-IC is analyzed by using various other
techniques such as FE (Finite Element) modeling of complex 3D-IC structure.
Read Fast & Accurate Thermal Analysis of 3D-ICs for more information.

The complete Chip-Package-System solution for thermal analysis is summarized in


the above picture where chip-aware system thermal analysis as well as
system-aware chip thermal EM analysis can be performed.

The on-chip thermal-aware EM flow is depicted in the above picture where


Sentinel-TI generates the chip thermal profile from the CTM generated by
RedHawk and Totem and back-annotates it to EM violations. The MTTF (Mean
Time to Failure) can be computed from the available data.
The set of class tools provided by ANSYS are well knit into system-aware-chip and
chip-aware-system flows that provide fast and accurate Power Integrity, EM and
Thermal Reliability solutions at advanced nodes. Considering extremely low noise
and EM margins at these nodes, such solutions at high accuracy levels are must.