"High-Performance FPAAs for Hierarchical Analog System Design"

Hu Huang1, Ji Lou1, Martin Peckerar1, Joseph Bernstein1, and Ari Tuchman2

1University of Maryland
2MakeLink LLC


The design complexity of today’s IC has increased dramatically due to the high integration density allowed by advanced CMOS VLSI processes. A key to manage the increased design complexity, while achieving a shortening of the time-to-market, is design automation. In digital world, the field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) have evolved to play a very important role by providing ASIC-compatible design methodologies that include design-for-testability, design optimization and rapid prototyping. On the analog side, the drive towards shorter design cycles has demanded the development of high performance analog circuits that are configurable and suitable for CAD methodologies. Field-programmable analog arrays (FPAAs) are intended to achieve the benefits for analog system design as FPGAs have in the digital field.

This paper described our recent FPAA research, including the development of a configurable analog block with improved internal routing architecture, implementation of channel segmentation techniques to enhance routability, and reduce interconnect parasitics (such as cross-coupling), and a mixed-signal routing algorithm to minimized digital switching noise. Our approach to the FPAA problem utilizes a laser-induced interlayer linking process that is technology independent, utilizes no active elements and is radiation hard. Recent developments in the laser-linking process are described.

An implementation of 8-bit, 100MSPS pipelined A/D converter using this FPAA is provided as a demonstration of the hierarchical analog design approach, with its key performance specifications discussed.


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