- An analog/mixed mode design depends primarily on the cleverness of the designer and the limitations of the process. Simulation is used to verify how well these things have been optimized against the specification. I suppose one can't have too much simulation, but having an engineer sit for months verifying a design can add considerable cost to the effort. We try our best to verify the design as quickly as possible to ensure cost and schedule.
- Do we need a simulation plan? - Often a pre-agreed set of simulations to prove a design can be helpful. While we always want to run full process corner simulations on every design over every temperature and operating voltage, the set of simulations this requires can be enormous. If the chip is large and the simulations take days or weeks, the implications to cost and schedule are obvious. Lets work together up front to determine what's really needed. If you need every simulation, it's fine with us.
- We use 64 bit Smartspice (Silvaco) for analog simulations and mixed mode simulations where extreme accuracy is required. It can also handle very large circuits. The 2 processor cpu architecture also increases speed.
- Mixed Mode simulations are done using Smash (Dolphin) This simulator is very handy where the logic can be described by vhdl and at the same time very accurate analog simulations can be accomplished.
- Both simulators can be used for full chip simulation.
- Very often design, simulation, and layout can overlap in the schedule. Since this is so, MTE often subcontracts layout with highly qualified subcontractors. This is part of our successful "virtual" company approach. This allows us to address any job, no matter how large. It also allows us to address shorter development schedules than many chip contractors can.
- Our internal layout tools are from Stabie-soft. They have a great layout editor called Slam, which has an integrated lvs and drc capability.
- Should final verification with Calibre or other such high end verification tool be a requirement, this can easily be subcontracted with the layout. This keeps our internal overhead and costs down.