The mission of the INSITE program is to allow product designers to make informed decisions regarding the impact of future process technology options on their products and, vice-versa, to help technology developers in deciding which options make more sense for certain product scenarios. By providing technology assessment from circuit to application level, INSITE de-risks and lowers cost for new process technology adoption.

The INSITE program builds a virtual technology framework that can be used to design chips in a technology that is still under development. The models, design rules, libraries, etc that are the basis of this framework are derived from the wealth of data that is available through imec's process technology research using a combination of technology computer aided design (TCAD), test circuits, test chips, measurements, etc. They are made available in standard industry formats, such that standard design tools can be used. The path-finding concept is extended to the design level to support co-exploration of technology and design options. Path-finding flows combine standard design tools with in-house tools, scripts, and models to allow rapid assessment of performance (area, speed, power) designed with emerging technologies.

INSITE projects provide value by focusing on partner specific questions and bringing together imec's expertise in different disciplines of semiconductor technology: logic and memory, analog and digital, litho, device, circuit, design, electrostatic discharge (ESD), packaging and integration, etc. It provides a window on how future technology will impact products by making the wealth of data and knowledge generated through imec's process technology research programs available to the design community, covering all aspects of product design.

Modeled after the success of the 3D design program, INSITE projects combine imec's capability of designing test circuits, manufacturing test chips in its own facilities or in foundry technology, and measuring actual Si performance, to obtain quantitative answers to drive product level technology options.

Figure 1

Figure 1: The INSITE framework allows to link technology research results to system design opportunities and challenges via a combination of modeling, test-chips, libraries, and path-finding techniques.

Several use cases of the INSITE program are illustrated elsewhere (see section INSITE logic: technology and circuit assessment), (see section Designing next generation 3D systems), and (see section Patterning assessment for logic and memory).

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