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Title: A novel deep submicron bulk planar sizing strategy for low energy subthreshold standard cell libraries
Authors: Morris, Jordan
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This work investigates bulk planar deep submicron semiconductor physics in an attempt to improve standard cell libraries aimed at operation in the subthreshold regime and in Ultra Wide Dynamic Voltage Scaling schemes. The current state of research in the field is examined, with particular emphasis on how subthreshold physical effects degrade robustness, variability and performance. How prevalent these physical effects are in a commercial 65nm library is then investigated by extensive modeling of a BSIM4.5 compact model. Three distinct sizing strategies emerge, cells of each strategy are laid out and post-layout parasitically extracted models simulated to determine the advantages/disadvantages of each. Full custom ring oscillators are designed and manufactured. Measured results reveal a close correlation with the simulated results, with frequency improvements of up to 2.75X/2.43X obs erved for RVT/LVT devices respectively. The experiment provides the first silicon evidence of the improvement capability of the Inverse Narrow Width Effect over a wide supply voltage range, as well as a mechanism of additional temperature stability in the subthreshold regime. A novel sizing strategy is proposed and pursued to determine whether it is able to produce a superior complex circuit design using a commercial digital synthesis flow. Two 128 bit AES cores are synthesized from the novel sizing strategy and compared against a third AES core synthesized from a state-of-the-art subthreshold standard cell library used by ARM. Results show improvements in energy-per-cycle of up to 27.3% and frequency improvements of up to 10.25X. The novel subthreshold sizing strategy proves superior over a temperature range of 0 °C to 85 °C with a nominal (20 °C) improvement in energy-per-cycle of 24% and frequency improvement of 8.65X. A comparison to prior art is then performed. Valid cases are presented where the proposed sizing strategy would be a candidate to produce superior subthreshold circuits.
Description: Engineering andPhysical Science ResearchCouncil (EPSRC) and Arm Ltd for providing funding in the form of grants and studentships
Appears in Collections:School of Engineering

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