Magma(R) Design Automation Inc. (Nasdaq: LAVA), a provider of semiconductor design software, announced a new option for its industry-standard Knights Camelot(TM) CAD navigation software that makes finding the location of a device short faster than previously possible, a key time-to-market advantage in failure analysis.
The Passive Voltage Contrast (PVC) Checker simulation option allows failure analysis (FA) engineers to quickly and accurately validate the integrity of a circuit’s conductivity by simulating voltage contrast and comparing the simulated result with actual scanning electron microscope (SEM)-based measurements. By accurately simulating the SEM’s voltage-contrast measurements before they actually become available, engineers can determine where in a device a short may be occurring due to improperly charging connections much faster than previously possible.
Following SEM inspection, National Semiconductor used PVC Checker for layer-by-layer deprocessing of an analog device to determine the physical location of circuit anomaly. Because PVC Checker automatically traced and mapped these locations using an existing processed layout database, no additional layout data processing was required.
“PVC Checker complements the industry’s well-known, powerful technique utilizing a SEM to identify anomalous circuit areas on an IC,” said William Ng, member of the technical staff at National Semiconductor. “We were able to use PVC Checker to quickly and accurately single out irregular device connections or terminations that were adversely affecting performance. This technique saved us a considerable amount of time and energy.”
“We are very pleased that National Semiconductor was able to use PVC Checker to determine the source of device circuit failure while saving valuable time, thus improving time to market,” said Ankush Oberai, vice president of Magma’s Fab Analysis Business Unit. “With the addition of PVC Checker to our portfolio of Camelot options, we continue a long tradition of providing superior failure analysis and device debug software solutions to our worldwide customer base.”
In addition to PVC Checker, the new Camelot Online Trace feature provides flexibility while simplifying the voltage-contrast validation process. Engineers can get more detailed information for identifying vias or metal traces that may be affecting circuit connectivity. They have the option to search for these objects over an entire area or layer of a device or on a one-by-one basis.
“In physical analysis, SEM inspection can help FA engineers identify the via or metal layer which connects to the source or drain of a PMOS or NMOS structure, and also the poly-gate and floating nodes,” Oberai said. “But since a SEM only provides an image on one layer, it’s hard to judge which connection has failed. PVC Checker enables the user to expand investigation by simulating voltage contrast over multiple layers of a device. In conjunction with Camelot, multiple SEM and optical-based images can then be overlaid to voltage-contrast circuitry for additional product debug use. This capability not only saves time in debugging, but also offers flexibility and simplifies voltage-contrast inspection.”
About Knights Camelot
Magma’s Knights Camelot software system is the next-generation CAD navigation standard for failure analysis, design-debug and low yield analysis. Camelot optimizes the equipment and personnel resources of design and semiconductor failure analysis (FA) labs by providing computer interfaces and navigation capabilities for more than 50 different types of analysis and test equipment. Its application tools, features, options and networking capability provide a complete, integrated system for fast and efficient investigation and resolution of inspection, test and analysis jobs. In addition, Camelot enables closer collaboration between product and design groups with FA labs, thus dramatically improving time to yield and market.
Magma’s software for integrated circuit (IC) design is recognized as embodying the best in semiconductor technology, enabling the world’s top chip companies to “Design Ahead of the Curve”(TM). Magma provides EDA software for IC implementation, analysis, physical verification and characterization. Magma products are used by the world’s leading engineers to create complex, high-performance ICs for consumer electronics, mobile communications, computing and networking applications, while at the same time reducing design time and costs. Magma is headquartered in San Jose, Calif., with offices around the world. Magma’s stock trades on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol LAVA.
Magma is a registered trademark, and Camelot and “Design Ahead of the Curve” are trademarks of Magma Design Automation Inc.