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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Analysis of microelectronic power distribution networks and exploration of 3D ICs

Abstract

As the semiconductor process nodes advance to 28nm and below and three-dimensional (3D) silicon integration technology is emerging, power delivery is becoming an ever -greater challenge in VLSI design. Detailed analyses of power distribution networks (PDN) must be performed in order to ensure robust power delivery. Different aspects of analysis problems with current and future VLSI designs and 3D ICs are addressed in this dissertation. We review the traditional frequency-domain PDN analysis methodology and investigate the relationship between the frequency- domain PDN impedance and time-domain PDN noise. We demonstrate that the traditional frequency-domain analysis methodology has limitations. Due to the limitation of frequency-domain analysis methodology, we point out the importance of time-domain analysis which lead to our research work worst-case PDN noise prediction. We also propose a simulation flow for large-scale PDN using Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT). This flow utilizes the characterizations of PDNs and adaptively choose the simulation points based on different frequency ranges of PDNs. With such an adaptive sampling technique, we are able to simulate large-scale PDN models and achieve fairly results in a reasonable simulation time. Our simulation flow also naturally fits into parallel computation techniques, which further enhances the simulation efficiency. Finally, with our analysis and simulation tools, we explore the PDN characteristics of 3D ICs. We propose lumped and distributed models for 3D PDNs, and analyze 3D PDNs systematically in both frequency domain and time domain. Unique noise behaviors of 3D PDNs are discovered with our modeling analysis flow. Different design space of 3D PDNs are also studied and design guidelines based on the studies are provided

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