New priorities reshape DFM landscape:

Integration issues pose challenges for fabs, foundries, and fabless

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…Cadence Fellow Lou Scheffer made a direct pitch to those who write the design rules manuals. “If you want designers and CAD people to take these issues seriously, get them into the rules,” said Scheffer. “Users [of design manuals] are not process experts¿routers and placers are driven by cost.” As an example, he noted that design rule manuals at 65nm typically say nothing about why bigger isn’t always better from a litho standpoint.

Michel Villemain, VP of marketing at FEI Co., told WaferNews that the previous scheme of using the design-rule checker (DRC) to guarantee the manufacturability of a design has collapsed at the 90nm node. “With the introduction of copper at the 130nm node, simulation and DRC rules started to fall behind,” said Villemain. “Product teams started to work around DRC and waive some DRC violations to get designs into the fab quickly. But with 90nm process technology, DRC rules exploded and violations could not be worked around anymore.” Villemain noted that the problem is compounded by the disaggregation-he referred to it as disintegration-of the industry that occurred in the fabless/foundry model.

As far as who the DFM winners might be, Villemain believes that it will be those that have an intimate understanding of industry’s needs. “Only the organizations already experiencing the struggles of design teams, mask shops, and low yield will be adequately positioned to appreciate where to create value and reap its benefits.” – Debra Vogler, Senior Technical Editor


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