Real-time heating and power characterization of cells in standard cell designs 

In today’s digital electronic integrated circuits device heating is one of the most critical issues. Overheating can cause failures in functionality and device malfunction.

In certain circumstances overheating of ICs can cause physical destruction of the device itself. This paper introduces a solution to determine cell and gate heating curves across the standard cell IC’s surface. The presented methodology and toolset is tightly integrated into standardized logic simulator engines thus providing digital circuit designers a low-level, cell-resolution temperature distribution map during logic simulations. Actual temperatures of each consisting cell of the design can be monitored throughout the whole logic simulation. By being able to monitor temperatures of digital cells during initial simulations, it allows us to detect hot-spots and overheating caused malfunctions far before manufacture. By using the spatial location and temperature magnitude of hot-spots acquired from the presented methodology, place and route (P&R) tools can be driven to change cell placement and routing in order to avoid heating caused failures. Additionally, cooling solutions can be developed using the simulated temperature maps of the IC’s surface. This paper also presents various aspects of power characterization methods which were used throughout the experiments. This work is the final milestone of the research of logi-thermal simulation methodologies.

This research took place from January 2015 till August 2015.

Dr. András Timár, egyetemi tanársegéd, BME Elektronikus Eszközök Tanszéke, Dr. Poppe András, tanszékvezető, BME Elektronikus Eszközök Tanszéke,
2015. augusztus 31.