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EEE8127 : Microelectronics Design Tools

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Alex Bystrov
  • Owning School: Engineering
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


• Experience of the use of industry standard commercial software packages for design and simulation of semiconductor devices, libraries and circuits, including design capture, simulation, physical design and verification. The student will also develop important transferable skills like planning and organising, working practices, general techniques for simulation and report preparation.

• Needs of the modern electronics industry following the major design trends outlined in
the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (current edition).

• Consistency in preparation of the students to the Individual Project

This coursework module is aimed at development of knowledge and skills for highly efficient with
respect to power, energy, performance and reliability implementations of design components, libraries and circuits. The module includes lectures, hands-on tutorials and a closely supervised
design mini-project.

Outline Of Syllabus

•       Needs of the modern electronics industry following the major design trends outlined in the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (current edition).

•       CMOS technology basics, design of logic gates, transistor sizing.

•       Methods of delay estimation for digital circuits.

•       Design of logic cell layouts in a modern deep-submicron technology (90nm and below).

•       Design rules for a commercial fabrication process.

•       Verification (DRC, LVS, parasitics extraction), simulation, timing characterisation of a custom library.

•       Cadence Virtuoso, Mentor Graphics Calibre tools, UMC technology library, all the updated versions. Mini-project on design, verification and timing characterisation of a custom library of logic cells.

•       A comprehensive technical report, analysis and documentation for the designed library.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials123:0036:00Lecture materials, structured research and reading (non-synchronous)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Online demo and report preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical33:009:00PiP, can be carried out online in case of lockdown
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops33:009:00Synchronous online, can be carried out as PiP in absense of lockdowns
Guided Independent StudyProject work198:0098:00Inc. Practical online work
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion63:0018:00Design support – consultation via online chat or video conferencing on demand
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

• Lectures provide adequate overview, background, literature sources and introduce the methodology
of study. Outcomes 1-3.

• Hands-on tutorials speed-up the phase of familiarisation with complex software tools. Outcomes

• Supervised practicals – this is where the student make the key design decisions in their project
under facilitation and guidance of experienced staff. Outcomes 2-7.

• Unsupervised time in the laboratory (included into the Private Study activity) – routine
implementation work. Outcomes 5-6.

• Report writing (included into the Private Study activity) – written communication skill,
summarises and organises all learning outcomes. It is also used for assessment.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M100Individual report containing the evidence & analysis of practical results & the technical documentation for the design - 4000 words
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Practical/lab report1MMid-semester assessment of the progress, feedback.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written report must fulfil the SOLO criteria for the extended abstract type work. As such, it
must contain the following parts: Aims and Objectives, Introduction, Results, Discussion,
Conclusions and References. All the learning outcomes defined above must be reflected in the
report. The adequate guidance on report writing will be provided by the academic staff.
Up to 50% of the report can be replaced with equivalent content in the form of tables, diagrams,
equations and screen shots. Any illustrative material must be adequately integrated and discussed
in the main text. The report must include the summary of the results of 3 hours reading of the
current edition of ITRS document; the reading time is included into the private study article.

The written report is suitable to test the development of knowledge in relation to all learning outcomes

Reading Lists