Statistical Yield Analysis and Design for Nanometer VLSI
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Process variability is the pivotal factor impacting the design of high yield integrated circuits and systems in deep sub-micron CMOS technologies. The electrical and physical properties of transistors and interconnects, the building blocks of integrated circuits, are prone to significant variations that directly impact the performance and power consumption of the fabricated devices, severely impacting the manufacturing yield. However, the large number of the transistors on a single chip adds even more challenges for the analysis of the variation effects, a critical task in diagnosing the cause of failure and designing for yield. Reliable and efficient statistical analysis methodologies in various design phases are key to predict the yield before entering such an expensive fabrication process. In this thesis, the impacts of process variations are examined at three different levels: device, circuit, and micro-architecture. The variation models are provided for each level of abstraction, and new methodologies are proposed for efficient statistical analysis and design under variation. At the circuit level, the variability analysis of three crucial sub-blocks of today's system-on-chips, namely, digital circuits, memory cells, and analog blocks, are targeted. The accurate and efficient yield analysis of circuits is recognized as an extremely challenging task within the electronic design automation community. The large scale of the digital circuits, the extremely high yield requirement for memory cells, and the time-consuming analog circuit simulation are major concerns in the development of any statistical analysis technique. In this thesis, several sampling-based methods have been proposed for these three types of circuits to significantly improve the run-time of the traditional Monte Carlo method, without compromising accuracy. The proposed sampling-based yield analysis methods benefit from the very appealing feature of the MC method, that is, the capability to consider any complex circuit model. However, through the use and engineering of advanced variance reduction and sampling methods, ultra-fast yield estimation solutions are provided for different types of VLSI circuits. Such methods include control variate, importance sampling, correlation-controlled Latin Hypercube Sampling, and Quasi Monte Carlo. At the device level, a methodology is proposed which introduces a variation-aware design perspective for designing MOS devices in aggressively scaled geometries. The method introduces a yield measure at the device level which targets the saturation and leakage currents of an MOS transistor. A statistical method is developed to optimize the advanced doping profiles and geometry features of a device for achieving a maximum device-level yield. Finally, a statistical thermal analysis framework is proposed. It accounts for the process and thermal variations simultaneously, at the micro-architectural level. The analyzer is developed, based on the fact that the process variations lead to uncertain leakage power sources, so that the thermal profile, itself, would have a probabilistic nature. Therefore, by a co-process-thermal-leakage analysis, a more reliable full-chip statistical leakage power yield is calculated.