Self-Compensating Design for Focus Variation - Technical Paper from DAC 2005

Blaze DFM Inc.

Paper by Puneet Gupta, Andrew B. Kahng, Youngmin Kim , and Dennis Sylvester.

Process variations have become a bottleneck for predictable and highyielding IC design and fabrication. Linewidth variation (∆L) due to defocus in a chip is largely systematic after the layout is completed, i.e., dense lines “smile” through focus while isolated (iso) lines “frown”. In this paper, we propose a design flow that allows explicit compensation of focus variation, either within a cell (self-compensated cells) or across cells in a critical path (self-compensated design). Assuming that iso and dense variants are available for each library cell, we achieve designs that are more robust to focus variation. Design with a self-compensated cell library incurs ~11-12% area penalty while compensating for focus variation. Across-cell optimization with a mix of dense and iso cell variants incurs ~6-8% area overhead compared to the original cell library, while meeting timing constraints across a large range of focus variation (from 0 to 0.4um). A combination of original and iso cells provides an even better self-compensating design option, with only 1% area overhead. Circuit delay distributions are tighter with self-compensated cells and self-compensated design than with a conventional design methodology.

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