What is VLSI design? Very Large Scale Integration is the full form of the maestro technology VLSI. It is playing a vital role in the modern upbringing of the electronics industry today. The benefits and modifications derived from this technology have kept the competition of the hardware and software industry top-notch. The reason was that VLSI enabled engineers to integrate many transistors all together in a single microchip. Breaking it down into simpler language, an electronic gadget may contain registers like CPU, ROM, RAM, and other glue logics, VLSI enables them to be put together in one Integrated Circuit (IC) as one functioning unit.
Due to the rapid and vast advances in the generation of Large Scale Integration technologies and with the advent of the Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) designs, the number of possibilities in the integrated circuit (ICs) in high-performance computing, control designs, telecommunications, image and video processing, and consumer electronics has been rising at a very fast pace.
In this advanced tech-driven world, people mostly take interest in gadgets and technologies that provide cutting-edge impressions in terms of high computational performances, portability, and miniaturization of gadgets. The usage of VLSI in the hardware and software industry has enabled the engineers to put the tech-savvy users and their demands to equilibrium.
The world is becoming a handful and everything is happening at the tap of a button as the technology is advancing. People have succumbed to the habit of having everything accomplished within less time and in the fastest and most accurate possible way and to meet this demand VLSI engineers are rising. Here are a few technical aspects of the benefits derived from the implications of VLSI:
- VLSI reduces circuit size – As all the registers and components are integrated into one microchip the circuit size is automatically reduced.
- VLSI increases cost-effectiveness for devices – As everything is compressed down in one microchip devices become portable and thus cuts cost of production for industries by an ample amount.
- VLSI improves performance in terms of the operating speed of circuits – VLSI enables devices to have high computational capabilities.
- Requires less power than discrete components – As the devices concise power consumption is cut down.
- Higher device reliability – VLSI implies devices to work at the best of capacity.
- Requires less space and promotes miniaturization – these two aspects are the most sought by users hence making the technology of VLSI more in demand.
Following are a few aspects of the benefits derived as a VLSI IC Design Engineer:
- VLSI engineers are less in number but more in demand, as designing these intricate circuits takes a lot of patience and dedication. They have a huge influx of jobs.
- As the work is sophisticated, VLSI Engineers are hired with handsome salaries.
- VLSI technology is given ample concentration in our company.
- Anyone with a standing out skill in VLSI design can join our company and anyone looking for VLSI engineers to hire can learn more about our VLSI engineers.
Moving on to the aspects of industrial uses of VLSI:
- Digital Signal Processing – is used in speech processing.
- Commercial Electronics – everyday household items also now have VLSI technology to make the regular tasks easier.
- Automobiles – Used in safety components like ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) in automobiles.
- Medinices – VLSI helps make medical electronics component (pulse monitor, oximeter, etc)
To understand VLSI technology we have to know the design flow of how VLSI works. As intricate as it sounds the stages of VLSI are shown below in a form of a flow diagram.
Breaking down this VLSI Design Flow, there are mainly two stages of the design flow –
- Front End VLSI Design
- Back End VLSI Design
Front End VLSI Design :
With the usage of hardware languages like Verilog, System Verilog and VHDL digital design is done. Design verification is also done in this stage by simulation and other verification methods. This process also consists of designing gates for a chip.
The Front-End design process follows a step-by-step approach, and are given as follows:
- Problem Specification: Higher level interpretation of system arguments like design techniques, functionality, performance, fabrication, physical dimensions are defined here.
- Architecture definition: primary specifications such as floating point units, the RISC, CISC, ALU’s cache size.
- Functional Design: Identification of each unit’s physical and electrical specifications and interconnect requirements.
- Logic Design: this involves control flow, boolean expression, word width , register allocation.
- Circuit design: this software step is done by performing circuit duties in form of netlist.
- Physical Design: the netlist layout is converted into geometrical depiction.
Back End VLSI Design :
Back End Design process follows an iterative approach, it consists of the CMOS characterization and library design. Adding to that it consists of fault simulation and physical design.
The Back-end design process steps are given as follows:
- Wafer Processing: Preparing the silicon crystal that is made from the melting silicon and creating discs or wafers out of it for polishing.
- Lithography: Aligning the silicon crystal wafer with the photographic mask. After that a photo aligner will align the wafer to a mask. Then the mask is exposed to UV and the tracks are visible through the mask.
- Etching: it is a process where the etching mask is used to protect the essential parts of the material after selectively removing material from the surface of the wafer to create a pattern.
- Ion Implantation: basically is dopant ion implantation with high energy beam that determines the depth of the wafer penetration.
- Metallization: layering a thin sheet of aluminum on the wafer .
- Assembly and packaging: hundreds of chips are cut out from wafers and then they sent to electrical testing. Those that fail are discarded and those that pass are followed by visual inspection and then lastly they are sent to packaging.
VLSI technology is ideally suited to the demands of today’s electronic devices and systems. With the ever-increasing demand for miniaturization, portability, performance, reliability, and functionality, VLSI technology will continue to drive electronics advancement. Designing for the low margin of error that exists in VLSI technology requires using state-of-the-art PCB Design and Analysis software to help you get the job done right.
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