Integrated circuit (IC) design can be divided into three stages: circuitry as specified, circuitry as designed, and circuitry as manufactured. Circuitry as specified is a somewhat abstract circuit design made with knowledge of the latest state-of-the-art integrated circuit manufacturing capabilities. It represents what a designer wants the chip to do.

Circuitry as designed is a computer-generated representation of the physical layout of an IC designed to achieve the goals of the circuitry as specified design. Circuitry as manufactured is final manufactured ICs. Both circuitry as specified and circuitry as designed stages push the envelope of the latest IC manufacturing capabilities, so defects, both actual and potential, often occur. It is desirable to discover those defects as early in the design process as possible, preferably during the circuitry as designed stage, and not after the circuitry as manufactured stage.

The present invention measures key electrical and physical properties of ICs, including performance and timing-critical paths, during the circuitry as designed stage. The ability to measure these parameters is critical to understanding, designing, and building more effective, efficient, and robust electronic devices from circuitry as specified designs.

A goal of the present invention is to spotlight anomalies between circuitry as specified chip design and circuitry as designed physical layouts. The invention achieves this by creating graphic images that reveal those key electrical and physical properties and areas of potential defects in a more understandable manner. Any anomalies between circuitry as specified and circuitry as designed values help pinpoint areas of the circuitry to be further examined for their potential impact on functionality, performance, functional yield, and performance yield.

For more information, contact the Air Force Technology Transfer Program office at 937-904-9830; weblink here .

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This article first appeared in the March, 2018 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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