FloorDirector is a RFIC physical design backend designer tool for chip-level noise reduction of EMI/EMC and wireless RF-noise during wireless IC design. By optimizing the digital design in the implementation phase before physical implementation, backend designers using FloorDirector are now able to reduce IC-level noise, Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and IR Drop, thereby reducing development time and the risk of costly re-spins. FloorDirector works within the existing design constraints. Without degrading design timing, FloorDirector is capable of optimizing the full design for lower IR Drop, lower EMI and lower digital noise, by attacking the root of the problem.

Automotive EMI/EMC Challenges

The automotive semiconductor segment has a specific set of challenges in meeting Electromagnetic Compliance (EMC) requirements: With a number of stringent automotive standards, IEC61967, CISPR-25 and DC-10614 just to mention a few, there are sizable challenges when designing automotive ICs, challenges which other industry segments never come across. Reducing chip-level Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) within the means provided by present day design flows is a time and resource consuming task. Before FloorDirector, no design tools have been efficient in addressing EMI early in the design flow. Even skilled design teams must rely on over-compensating with large margins in the physical implementation of the power delivery network; just to make sure all potential issues are fixed with a wide safety margin. Then, finally, tape out and hope for the best when the IC returns from manufacturing months later.

Wireless System RF-Noise Challenges

By nature, wireless designs contain a large portion of highly noise sensitive analog circuitry. As the evolution and maturity of wireless standards drive faster and cheaper products, designers seek ever tighter monolithic integrations. And so, while silicon moves to smaller geometries and the digital content and processing speed increases, immunity of in the analog RF parts, from the digital noise aggressors is becoming a higher priority issue.

In today’s mainstream design flows, knowledge of digital noise aggressors is limited during the frontend design phase. Special measures need to be taken during physical design implementation, as increasing digital noise makes it very hard to tweak out the last dB of noise rejection. Businesses can only rely on years of best layout practices by senior designers who will need to secure the physical implementation of the IC by adding a wider and wider safety margin.

Chip-level EMI/EMC & RF-Noise Reduction using FloorDirector

Whether the challenge is conducted noise (automotive) or on-chip noise (RF / Wireless and other analog mixed-signal), it is a highly time consuming and expensive problem to debug. As design fixes most often happen very late in the process, direct cost and very long re-iterations can cause unfortunate budget overruns and delay market introduction.

Teklatech’s FloorDirector offers a novel approach to the problems faced by RF / Wireless and automotive designs. As Electromagnetic Interference and power grid noise originates from dynamic current and voltage peaks, reducing system-level dynamic current peaks means attacking the very root cause of IR Drop, EMI and substrate noise challenges. Instead of reducing the effects of a noisy digital design, by patching the silicon with physical-level filtering, FloorDirector solves the problems at the origin (the digital design base) and at the right time: before physical implementation. To summarize the advantages:

  • FloorDirector offers improvements that are truly orthogonal to existing noise reduction methods working in the physical domain. It simply adds on top of any improvements made in the physical domain, such as decoupling capacitances, shielding or substrate contacts.
  • FloorDirector allows for fast development. Working early in the design flow, it offers fast, ultra-short iterations compared to using physical sign-off tools and manual bug fixing.
  • Optimizing the design in the implementation phase allows for less costly (masks, wafers, man-power) and faster development (meeting customer schedules) and hence more profit.

Source: Teklatech