Integrated circuits based on nano-electro-mechanical (NEM) relays are a promising alternative to conventional CMOS technology in ultra-low energy applications due to their (near) zero stand-by energy consumption. Here we describe the details of an overarching design framework for NEM relays, including automated synthesis from design entry in RTL to layout, based on commercially available EDA tools and engines. Critical differences between relays and FETs manifest in fundamentally different timing characteristics, which significantly affect static timing analysis and the requisite timing models. The adaptation of existing EDA methods, models, tools and platforms for logic and physical synthesis to account for these differences are described, providing insight into large-scale design of NEM relay-based digital processors. A historically well-known processor, the Intel 4004, and a modern MIPS32 compatible processor are synthesized based on a NEM relay-based standard cell library to demonstrate the customized synthesis methodology. An energy study is carried out using the proposed design framework on benchmark circuits implemented in existing CMOS nodes and NEM node, to better understand the energy saving potential of NEM technology.
|Title of host publication||2015 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Computer-Aided Design (ICCAD)|
|Subtitle of host publication||Proceedings of a meeting held 2-6 November 2015 at Austin, TX, USA|
|Publisher||Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 2016|
Qin, T., Rana, S., & Pamunuwa, D. (2016). Design methodologies, models and tools for very-large-scale integration of NEM relay-based circuits. In 2015 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Computer-Aided Design (ICCAD): Proceedings of a meeting held 2-6 November 2015 at Austin, TX, USA (pp. 641-648). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). https://doi.org/10.1109/ICCAD.2015.7372630