Design Space Exploration Driven by Lifetime Concerns due to Electromigration

Frank Wolff1, Daniel Weyer1, Chris Papachristou1, William Clay2
1Case Western Reserve University, 2C.W. Consultants


Lifetime has not been a significant factor or primary concern in the integrated circuit (IC) design cycle of past process nodes. Lifetime was typically pushed at the end of the design process as signoff. If the electromigration rules weren't violated, lifetime was deemed acceptable. This viewpoint is shifting, from what is allowed, to what the IC mission profile needs. A designer needs to know how much, more or less, lifetime tradeoff with performance, power and cost can be achieved within the mission profile constraints. This paper describes a design space exploration methodology that moves electromigration lifetime tradesoffs early into the design cycle, without the need to re-characterize the process, while working with the existing technology library.