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Two-Step RF IC Block Synthesis with Pre-Optimized Inductors and Full Layout Generation In-the-loop

Martins, R. M. ; Lourenço, N. ; Passos, F. P. ; Póvoa , R. ; Canelas, A. ; Roca, E. ; Castro-López, R. ; Sieiro, J. S. ; Fernández, F. ; Horta, N.

IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design Vol. Early Access, Nº Early Access, pp. Early Access - Early Access, May, 2018.

ISSN (print): 0278-0070
ISSN (online):

Journal Impact Factor: 1,181 (in 2015)

Digital Object Identifier: 10.1109/TCAD.2018.2834394

In this paper, an analysis of the methodologies proposed in the past years to automate the synthesis of radio-frequency (RF) integrated circuit blocks is presented. In the light of this analysis, and to avoid non-systematic iterations between sizing and layout design steps, a multi-objective optimization-based layout-aware sizing approach with pre-optimized integrated inductor(s) design space is proposed. An automatic layout generation from netlist to ready-to-fabricate prototype is carried in-the-loop for each tentative sizing solution using an RF-specific module generator, template-based placer and evolutionary multi-net router with pre-optimized interconnect widths. The proposed approach exploits the full capabilities of the most established computer-aided design tools for RF design available nowadays, i.e., RF circuit simulator as performance evaluator, electromagnetic simulator for inductor characterization, and layout extractor to determine the complete circuit layout parasitics. Experiments are conducted over a widely-used circuit in the RF context, showing the advantages of performing complete layout-aware sizing optimization from the very initial stages of the design process.